Participants in NACC’s Capacity Building for Indigenous Prison Inmates program were recently involved in an innovative African Boxthorn removal trial project aimed at comparing different foliar spray applications that have been developed specifically to target the noxious Boxthorn weed.
The trial was conducted at Greys Beach, through a partnership between NACC, Greenough Regional Prison, the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute, Central Regional TAFE, and the City of Greater Geraldton.
The trial project itself was made possible through NACC’s Biodiversity Community Grants scheme and the outcomes will help other NRM groups in similar environments establish optimal treatment methods.
At the trial site, there were 60 medium-sized and actively growing plants that were identified by TAFE students. Prison inmates attended the site and sprayed the plants using different mixes developed by TAFE Conservation and Land Management lecturer Volker Stanger and NACC Aboriginal Participation Project Manager Greg Burrows.
With the help of TAFE Conservation and Land Management lecturer Dr Indre Asmussen, student Cameron Perrett analysed the data and reported on the project.
He said a high number of specimens treated with the glyphosate mix re-sprouted.
“However, specimens treated with additional chemicals saw an overall greater number of complete death cases and showed less signs of regrowth,” Cameron said.
“This trial determined that, although some chemicals appear to be effective at controlling boxthorn for a while, it appears as if many plants can enter a state of dormancy and regrow.
“This suggests that chemical sprays appear to have a limited use for medium size plants.”
Both Greg and Volker have been actively targeting African Boxthorn in the Midwest region for several years.
Through trial and error, they have developed a Glyphosate-based foliar spray particularly suited to Midwest conditions.
“This project is extremely important for the health of our local environment, and we will continue to put NACC’s Regional Boxthorn Strategy into practice,” Greg said.
“The labour component provided by the team from the Greenough regional Prison has also been a great asset to this project.”
The Biodiversity Community Grants scheme is supported by NACC, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.