By ERWIN CHLANDA
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.