Impact of weeds

This page has information about the impact of weeds in the Northern Territory (NT). 

Weeds have many negative impacts on the environmental, economic, social and cultural values.  

Weeds can cause damage to land and their spread can result from damage to land.

Environment impacts

Weeds can cause all of the following damage to the NT environment:

  • compete with and take over native plants
  • destroy native wildlife habitat and reduce natural food supplies
  • make fires hotter and more destructive
  • hide feral animals and make them difficult to control
  • damage waterways and water quality.

Cultural impact

Weeds can replace native plants and animals and reduce traditional foods and other resources used by Indigenous people. 

Weeds can harm the social well being of Indigenous landowners by altering their spiritual and physical connections to country.

Very intense and destructive fires carried by weeds can destroy rock art and other important sites.

Economic impact

Weeds in the NT cost land managers millions of dollars each year. 

Weeds can cause all of the following damage to the NT economy:

  • loss of good grazing country such as desirable pasture plants are replaced by weeds
  • increased weed control costs such as herbicide and aerial spraying
  • increased mustering costs
  • altered fire regimes, which reduces access to pasture and feed
  • illness and loss of stock that eat toxic weeds
  • weeds use water which would otherwise be available for stock
  • weeds such as mimosa and prickly acacia can block stock from getting to water
  • increased costs because of weed contamination of agricultural products and quarantine requirements
  • increased feral animal control costs as animals including feral pigs hide in weedy areas.

Recreation impact

Weeds can limit access to natural landscapes and affect all of the following:

  • hunting
  • fishing
  • boating
  • camping
  • bush walking.

Fire impact

Grass weeds can make fires hotter, more destructive and change the natural environment.

Hot and destructive fires carried by grass weeds present a very serious threat to life and property.

The cost of fire management has increased by many millions of dollars annually because of the spread of grass weeds.

Last updated: 28 November 2017