Dr. Jennifer Firn talks to ABC Science about her findings that have been recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology and also presented at Fresh Science, Melbourne, a national competition where 16 young scientists were selected to showcase their research to the public. Dr Firn’s latest research evaluated the potential of different management strategies on the invasive weed, African lovegrass, in a carefully designed field experiment based on the knowledge of the invasive weeds growth in its present environment and how it has altered the ecosystem of the native species.
One of the findings indicated that the application of small amounts of fertilizer, in areas affected by African lovegrass, can be a potential control method. Her previous findings had demonstrated that African lovegrass favours the harsh conditions of the Australian Rangelands, is fast growing in comparison to native grasses and that the mature tissue is unpalatable to grazers. Therefore, the small applications of fertilizer increased lovegrass palatability to grazers thus reducing grazing pressure on native grasses and limiting the lovegrass producing seed.
The full article can be found at http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/06/16/2928307.htm