ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Controlling exotic annuals in degraded Box Gum woodland understoreys in south-east Australia (2008-2013)


NSW Environment Trust Research Program, CRC Future Farm Industries), OEH, Murray CMA), Livestock Health and Pest Authority, CSU. Total funding $227,791 plus in-kind contributions

Investigators/ Researchers

Ian Cole, OEH, PhD candidate. Supervisors A/Prof Ian Lunt, ILWS & Dr Suzanne Prober, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences


Restoration goals for degraded communities often involve controlling exotic annuals, re-establishing original native dominants and returning historic ecological function, yet the lack of practical, cost-effective treatments often hinders progress.

This experiment was conducted over 4 years in Austrostipa understoreys of two grassy Box Gum woodlands. It compared the effects of carbon addition, spring burning, spring grazing and combinations on soil nutrients, exotic annual plants, the existing native grass sward and the establishment of four other native grasses. The control of exotic annuals by the Austrostipa sward was also explored.


ABC TV science show Catalyst 7th July 2011 segment titled "Sweet Solution for Woodlands".

Five presentations to land management agencies and community groups, two field days and four broadly distributed extension leaflets.

Four presentations to the scientific community and a PhD thesis. Scientific papers will be completed within the next 6 months.


This project has increased our understanding of the factors that control exotic annuals in Box-Gum woodlands. This knowledge has direct application in formal reserves and across the broader landscape.


Ian Cole

Charles Sturt University – Alburyemail