Friday, May 24, 2024

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HomeIssue 8What will the government do about buffel? Not much.

What will the government do about buffel? Not much.


Buffel grass, declared a noxious weed in South Australia and notorious for its displacing of native plants, and of being an extreme fire hazard, is earning high praise from the NT Minister of the Environment.

Eva Lawler, through a spokesperson, says: “As a pasture species, buffel grass remains highly valued by cattle producers for being drought tolerant, moderately nutritious and capable of withstanding heavy grazing.

“The extensive root system of buffel grass enables it to bind soil particles; reducing erosion and suppressing dust, which can be a valuable asset in an extremely arid environment.

“The Northern Territory Government recognises that buffel grass can impact upon environmental and cultural values and intensify rangeland fires, alongside posing a heightened risk to biodiversity.

“Due to the extent of buffel grass establishment in the natural environment, eradication is not considered technically or economically feasible,” says Ms Lawler.

“Current activities administered by the Department focus on raising awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of buffel grass, encouraging appropriate management by landholders and preventing inadvertent spread.

“The species is recognised in the new Alice Springs Regional Weed Strategy 2021-26 as a priority weed for strategic control in the region.

“Officers target the species to reduce its spread into clean areas and to reduce the impact of buffel grass and fire on important natural and cultural values, such as the iconic river red gums of the Todd and Charles Rivers.”

Ms Lawler did not answer the majority of the questions put to her by the Alice Springs News.

PHOTO: “Reducing the impact of buffel grass and fire on important natural and cultural values?” Buffel at the iconic Overland Telegraph Station.


  1. I had read years ago that buffel was first planted at the airport due to the threat of not allowing any jet aircraft to land due to excessive air borne dust
    As a builder I have replaced many ceilings in older houses due to collapse from the weight of the build up of the red dust over decades that used to permeate the smallest cracks and gaps in walls and roofs and fill our homes with fine layers.
    We no longer witness those iconic images of huge red dust storms that would turn day into night in the centre like once were a common occurrence decades ago. Thank you buffel.

  2. Had another read of this article.
    Definitely a case of the naked emperor.
    As this ecological disaster unfolds I am reminded of a book I read: “Mistakes Were Made – but not by me.”

  3. Just watched the ASTC spraying native grasses on street verges.
    Trees and native grasses are fine on verges.
    It is buffel grass that needs controlling.
    Surely the council could do more to protect our natural flora.

  4. I wonder if Ms Lawler is going to do something about African love grass, which seems to be out performing buffel along Ilparpa Road, or is it too late for that one too?


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