Blackberry is one of Australia's 20 weeds of national significance.
Ecology and management of Australian weeds
CSIRO Entomology’s weed research focuses on controlling tropical and temperate weeds by integrating biological control with conventional methods.
17 September 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011
Weeds cost Australia over A$4 billion dollars every year in control and lost production. Our primary production and unique environment are under threat from invasive weeds.
Environmental weeds are encroaching on important wilderness areas with a profound effect on biodiversity.
Since the arrival of the first Europeans with their crops and ornamental plants, more than 28 000 exotic plants have been brought into Australia, a few accidentally but most deliberately. Now, more than 2 500 species of introduced plants are established in the wild.
Integrated weed management
CSIRO Entomology's weed research focuses on integrated weed management. It aims to integrate biological control with other control methods such as herbicides, grazing and cultivation and is done in partnership with other organisations, especially the CRC for Australian Weed Management.
CSIRO Entomology has strong international links. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has scientists based with our group in Brisbane. Their aim is to find natural enemies of Australian plants that are weeds in the USA. We also collaborate with the USDA lab in Buenos Aires for exploration work in Argentina and nearby countries.
CSIRO Entomology uses plants’ natural enemies to help control invasive weed species.
CSIRO’s European Laboratory in Montpellier, France is a base for the search for biocontrol agents of the European plants that are now weeds in Australia. We also have a research station in Vera Cruz, Mexico which focuses on the ecology and natural enemies of plants of Central America that have become weeds in Australia.
Temperate weed research
The Temperate Weeds group is studying weeds which affect agriculture and the environment in southern Australia.
Tropical weed research
The Tropical Weeds group focuses on weeds invading vast tracts of northern Australia as well as aquatic weeds in our waterways.
Before any new biological control agent can be released in Australia it must undergo testing to ensure it will not pose a threat to non-target species such as native and agricultural plants.
CSIRO Entomology maintains several Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) approved Quarantine Containment (QC) facilities where host specificity testing can be carried out.
At the Black Mountain site in Canberra there is an approved Class 5.4 building which complies with strict AQD (Approved Quarantine Directive) protocols.
The Long Pocket Laboratories in Brisbane have a QC3 facility and the Division is currently involved in setting up a QC4 facility at the Floreat Laboratories in Perth.
Learn more about CSIRO's invasive plant Current research.