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The Forum > Article Comments > Western Australia must tackle invasive species head on > Comments

Western Australia must tackle invasive species head on : Comments

By Bernie Masters, published 26/7/2005

Bernie Masters argues Western Australia needs an Invasive Species Council to tackle the problem of invasive and exotic species.

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Yes, combating invasive species does need to be addressed.
And for that, there is no simple answer.
An undoubted need exists for effective quarantine procedures in order to minimise further proliferation of those species. But we are faced with the situation of a plethora of invasive species that have become naturalised, and for which eradication is virtually impossible. We will have to live with them, and indeed do have need of a "coordinated and integrated approach to the understanding and management of [these] invasive species".
While the State must take part, it would be better approached on an Australia-wide basis, rather than a purely Western Australian one.
One of the earlier invaders was the dingo, some 5 millennia back. While it is now a naturalised citizen, it still needs management. Especially so as cross-breeding with other dogs increases. Newsome and Corbett, of CSIRO at the time, did much valuable work on this species. Especially valuable, in that it integrated research into dingo and wild-dog habitats from Carnarvon, through the Northern Territory, to the Kosciusko and south-eastern seaboard of New South Wales. Unfortunately new arrangements within CSIRO are now most unlikely to support similar ecological effort to establish foundations for species management.
Such things as "firegrasses" and cane-toads are spreading west across the Northern Territory, and are certain to add to the burden of the West. But the most damaging invasive species is humanity. Yes, ourselves - and we also require better understanding and management in relation to the ecological niche we have in this land's environment.
There is much good knowledge available on how to minimise the pounding we are giving to most of the other components of this niche. But it is not to the liking of the decision-makers, and we continue to place at risk "the ecosystem services that the natural environment provides (clean air and water, for example), education and bio-prospecting." And continue we will, while we ignore the knowledge that we are a big-brained mammal capable of understanding, better than the gentle rabbit, that an ever-increasing population in a paddock of limited resources rapidly approaches disaster.
Posted by colinsett, Friday, 29 July 2005 10:14:08 PM
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