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New paper recognises significance of land manager driven research

A new paper published in the internationally renowned Journal of Applied Ecology highlights the work done by local land managers, in partnership with South East Local Land Services (LLS), the Far South Coast Landcare Association, Springvale Landcare, Far South Coast Farmers Network and Queensland University of Technology, in seeking to manage the invasive African lovegrass in the Bega Valley.

The study demonstrated that land manager knowledge can be valuable when designing ecological research aimed at identifying effective control strategies for invasive species.

“The project presented a great partnership opportunity, we’re all trying to increase our knowledge and understanding of the issue [African Lovegrass] and come up with strategies to control it, so it made sense to bring everyone together to discuss and test some ideas” said Graham Scott, LLS Senior NRM Advisor.

Projects like this one, funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, are relatively rare in that it was designed to use the experiences and observations of local land managers as a starting point for the scientific research.

“What is often the case is that previous studies are used as the basis for further research, but these previous studies don’t always include the local knowledge that we were hoping to access” said Jennifer Firn, Associate Professor Science and Engineering at Queensland University of Technology.

“Combining the knowledge of locals with a large scale field study we were able to test some new ideas and produce some interesting data.”

While some of the land managers’ hypotheses were demonstrated to be not correct, others were verified.

“We’re really pleased with the outcome. By bringing these groups together we’ve been able to increase our understanding of not only African lovegrass, and how we can go about controlling it, but how we can approach increasing our understanding of other invasive species in the future.” said Graham.

ENDS

Media contact: Dave Michael, South East Local Land Services, 0418 513 880