Invasive species threaten native biodiversity with their ability to change and destroy habitats and ecosystems. As the number one cause of native animal extinctions in Australia and the second-largest threat to river and stream areas, they also cause significant harm to nationally important wetlands, and threatened ecosystems.
Invasive species can also harm social and economic assets and affect primary industries including agriculture, forestry and fisheries. They can also damage recreation, tourism and cultural values, including sites of significance to indigenous people.
Managing invasive species in Victoria
Invasive species on public land in Victoria are managed by using a biosecurity approach
This approach focuses on asset-based protection measures that aim to minimise their impact on the environment, the economy and society. The Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework aims to protect our native flora, fauna and primary producers from harm caused by invasive species.
We all play an important role in guiding invasive species policy, legislation and government investment on public land to achieve desired outcomes for the environment.
Invasive plants (weeds)
Many invasive plants, or weeds, can pose a serious threat to biodiversity by significantly impacting native plant and animal populations. Weeds contribute to land and water degradation and losses in agricultural productivity.
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 certain plants are declared as noxious weeds in Victoria. This allows certain actions to be taken to control them.
The impact of weeds on the environment is recognised through several listings under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 :
- Introduction and spread of Spartina to Victorian estuarine environments.
- Invasion of native vegetation by 'environmental weeds'
- Invasion of native vegetation communities by Tall Wheat-grass Lophopyrum ponticum.
Invasive animals can pose a serious threat to biodiversity. They contribute to the loss of native animals and farm productivity by direct predation or by disturbing or eating native vegetation, and by spreading weeds.
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 certain animals are declared as pest animals in Victoria. Established pest animals include foxes, rabbits, feral pigs, feral goats and feral cats.
The impact of pest animals on the environment is recognised through several listings under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 .
- Degradation and loss of habitats caused by feral horses (Equus caballus).
- Predation of native wildlife by the cat (Felis catus).
- Predation of native wildlife by the introduced red fox (Vulpes vulpes).
- Reduction in biodiversity of native vegetation by sambar deer (Cervus unicolor).
- Reduction in biomass and biodiversity of native vegetation through grazing by the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
- Soil degradation and reduction of biodiversity through browsing and competition by feral goats (Capra hircus).
There are a number of programs targeting pest animals on public land in Victoria. One example, the Weeds and Pests on Public Land program funds landscape-scale fox and rabbit control projects including Southern Ark, Glenelg Ark, Grampians Ark, and the Mallee Bounceback program.
Page last updated: 13/02/24