Conference 2003

Conference 2003
Greening the City:
Bringing Biodiversity Back
into the Urban Environment


Weed Awareness and Encouraging Community Participation in Weed Control Initiatives

Wendy Baker (Environment BOP)

When weeds invade . the whole Biodiversity 'scene' can get out of whack!!!!

Yes, we need to encourage people to see the 'the bigger picture' about the effects that weed invasion can have on upsetting our beautifully balanced biodiversity areas.

It is not only the native plant communities, within the urban environment, that are continually threatened by the invasion of environmental weeds, but also human health can be affected by some pesky pest plants!

Because urban environments are usually heavily built-up there are many opportunities for weeds to 'escape' from areas of human activity into reserve and native areas. Therefore it is important to educate people on the whole process of what a weed is and how it 'acts' within our environment.

With Weed Awareness campaigns we are aiming at a what, why, when and where education exercise:

  • 'What is a weed?': Helping people to identify, and understand about, specific problem weeds within their area (backyard/suburb);
  • 'Why control weeds?': Explaining 'why' specific weeds are detrimental to the environment;
  • 'When and how do you control weeds?': Explaining, and showing if practicable, how to control different weed species at the appropriate times of the year, relevant to the weed species;
  • 'Where do you dispose of weeds?': Helping people understand the importance of disposing weeds appropriately within the urban environment. (i.e. composting, green waste facility).

One community weed initiative and incentive scheme that Environment Bay Of Plenty has co-ordinated since 1999 is 'The Privet Replacement Project'.

The free native plant replacement scheme has been successful due to the generous ongoing sponsorship from local nursery Naturally Native New Zealand Ltd. It has also involved local volunteers.

Over the past four years, hundreds of Privet plants have been removed by Tauranga/Mount Maunganui residential property owners who have been rewarded with up to 12 free native plant replacements.

The incentive scheme has major environmental benefits to the community because it encourages property owners to remove an invasive pest plant and replace it with an 'environmentally friendly' alternative.

As well as being invasive weeds/pest plants Tree Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) and Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) species also generate a lot of public enquiries, from the Tauranga urban populated area, during their flowering seasons (September-March), because of their pollen and scent, which may contribute to allergies such as hay fever (although this has not been clinically proven).

By continually promoting the awareness of weeds, and developing innovative ways in which to do so, we will encourage more people to understand that (as the Australian WeedBuster slogan goes):

"Weed Prevention is the intention — give weeds the boot before they take root!"

Conference sponsored by:

British Council NZ
The Community Trust
Landcare Research

Follow this link to view other organisations supportive of the conference

Top of page

Home | Journal | Newsletter | Conferences
Awards | Join RNZIH | RNZIH Directory | Links

20002024 Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture

Last updated: October 12, 2003