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Buffel grass - stop the spread

Introduced in the 1950's, buffel grass is rapidly spreading across Central Australia and beyond. Its dense growth chokes out native plants and causes damaging fires, making it the greatest invasive species threat to ecological and cultural values in the arid and semi-arid zone. Donate today to help us to protect threatened species in the arid lands.

Iconic Red Centre Is Turning Beige, And Burning

Buffel grass's unimpeded march across the iconic Red Centre's landscape threatens flora, fauna and people alike. Its higher fuel load promotes far hotter, larger and more frequent fires. Species such as the Slater's desert skink and the MacDonnell Ranges cycad are increasingly under threat. Buffel grass is one of the greatest contributors to these potential extinctions.

We are campaigning to get the Northern Territory government to confront the buffel crisis. This includes declaring buffel grass a class B weed in the Northern Territory, and federally recognising buffel as a Weed of National Significance and researching potential solutions, including biological controls. More funding for Buffel management is needed from both levels of government.

We are acting now to stop the spread of buffel grass across Central Australia

We are fighting for a strategic, coordinated and committed approach to protecting the arid lands' ecological and cultural values from its greatest invasive species threat. Help us by putting your name to our petition campaigning to get the Northern Territory Government to take action.

Will you sign?

Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris)  is a high-impact environmental grass species and the greatest invasive species threat to environment and culture across Central Australia. Buffel promotes larger, more intense and more frequent wildfires. It impacts dozens of threatened species, monocrops landscapes, degrades soils, suppresses cultural practices, sacred sites and special places are overgrown, it is a public safety threat, is bad for the tourism industry, a problem for the health sector and destroys infrastructure. 

Yet in the Northern Territory, it is not a declared weed. The Northern Territory Government can no longer continue to be negligent around its management of the arid and semi-arid lands. The buffel grass issues are only going to get worse as the buffel invasion expands, the climate becomes hotter and buffel grass wildfires become more common. 

We can learn from gamba grass which is also a fire-promoting pasture grass and how it has been managed and regulated. In 2008 it was declared a weed!

The Northern Territory Government’s hesitation to declare buffel grass a weed is a major bottleneck for managing the buffel grass crisis. A weed declaration enables a holistic approach to weed, fire and rangeland management. A Class B weed declaration will ensure:

  • a management plan is developed; 
  • the distribution of buffel is mapped; 
  • sites of ecological and cultural significance are identified and conserved;
  • species at risk of extinction are conserved
  • research allowing greater understanding of its impacts will be known;
  • specific fire mitigation policies and programs will be rolled out;
  • funding for buffel management specific resourcing and coordination can occur; and,
  • investment in research and development for long-term solutions will be sped up. 

These are just some of the opportunities that will exist once buffel grass is declared a weed. There are many more!

Potentially most important for the Northern Territory Government, a weed declaration will provide a hook in which the Federal Government can provide funding and resourcing to support the management of buffel grass in the short and medium term and to drive investment into long-term landscape scale solutions. The presence of buffel and its continued expansion is a national travesty. 

Buffel grass is transforming the identity of Central Australia; the red centre is turning green, then yellow. Riparian vegetation, mulga woodlands and native grasslands are increasingly replaced by a monoculture of buffel grass. Stands of 500-year old river red gums have been turned to blackened posts. Critical habitat and unique ecological niches are going up in flames. 

Help us send a message to the Northern Territory Government that a Class B weed declaration is an urgent priority. 

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