- Buffel is an incredible carrier of fire and competes with native grasses.
- Buffel has only spread widely in the last 20-30 years, which means its full impact has not been realised.
- Buffel ranks higher than any other environmental threat in terms of its social and cultural impacts for Aboriginal people.
- Buffel is still not considered a weed in the Northern Territory and continues to be grown on pastoral properties.
Buffel grass is now considered to be the single greatest environmental threat to arid ecosystems. It out-competes native grasses and alters habitats, leading to more dangeous fires, significant biodiversity loss and loss of Aboriginal culture.
Native to parts of Africa and Asia, buffel grass is a perennial tussock grass that was introduced to Australia to provide pasture for stock and to stabilise soils that were eroded as a result of over grazing. Many pastoralists in the Northern Territory continue to grow and spread it.
Buffel grass poses a significant threat to arid ecosystems, communities and Aboriginal culture. Buffel has an extremely high fuel load and causes very hot, widespread, frequent fires. It destroys habitat it poses a catastrophic threat to native wildlife. Buffel affects the availability of bush tucker and is a threat to Aboriginal culture.
The good news is that research shows once buffel is properly managed, native flora and fauna can bounce back. There is an urgent need to prevent the deliberate spread of buffel grass and for management on a much larger scale in the NT.
ALEC is campaigning for:
- Buffel grass to be declared a class b weed (for management, not eradication.)
- Strategic, coordinated and committed action to manage this invasive species at local, regional, Territory and National levels.
- Scaling-up of efforts to inform and engage the community around the threat buffel grass poses.
- Funding for buffel-free sanctuaries to protect our rangelands from invasion.
- The development of a national monitoring tool to track the spread and impact of buffel and further research on buffel’s impacts upon different ecological communities.
What you can do:
Become a buffel volunteer
- Join Alice Springs Landcare and/or attend one of their regular working bees to clear buffel and rehabilitate the natural environment.
- The Buffel Grass Information and Action Group is a ‘grass roots’ group where the community can share information about buffel.
Protect your patch
Download this guide for managing buffel grass in Central Australia which outlines how to draw a map to identify the location of buffel on your land, determine a management program and choose effective control methods.
Write a letter in the paper
We all feel pretty strongly about protecting the unique desert landscapes we call home and our way of life in Central Australia. But, our lifestyle, landscapes and arid ecosystems are increasingly threatened by the spread of buffel grass.
You can help raise the profile of this dangerous threat, by writing a letter to the NT News.
Some tips on writing your letter:
- Why are you writing a letter about buffel grass? How does it affect you personally?
- What do you want to see happen?
- Short and concise, but personal is best. No more than 300 words in total.
Cover photo: Jennifer Firn, from The Conversation.