In 2008 we celebrated a successful campaign to have gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus) declared a weed by both the Queensland and Northern Territory governments.
Gamba Grass is probably the single greatest threat to tropical savannas, a vitally important Australian ecosystem made up of native grasses in an open woodland.
At the time our project officer Tim Low called gamba grass the “triffid of the plant world”, warning it could still devastate much of northern Australia’s savannahs.
Gamba grass grows up to 4 metres tall and fuels very intense fires that kill trees and promote its domination over the natural environment.
A pest risk assessment published by the Queensland Government in 2008 warned that much of Australia’s northern savannahs could turn into treeless monocultures of gamba grass and other flammable pasture grasses.
Because it took so many years for governments to ban gamba grass it is now an enormous problem, and should be eradicated wherever possible.
We have called on the Federal Government to declare flammable grasses a key threatening process and fund a strategy with state governments to limit the use of flammable grasses and manage their impacts.