It was an instructive experience to attend the first National Invasive Cacti Forum held at the Waite precinct of Adelaide University. Some of the positive points I was pleased to note were:
- There were highly qualified and experienced representatives from WA, SA, NSW, ACT and QLD present.
- Wheel cactus was high on the agenda but not the only cactus of concern.
- Wheel cactus is now on the list of Opuntioid cacti that is considered suitable for bio-control.
- The outbreak of wheel cactus in the Flinders Ranges is steadily being brought under control: contractors spraying with Grazon with volunteers mapping and mopping up being their method of control.
- From work done in South Africa there is a lot more understood about the cellular structure of wheel cactus and of its predators.
- A spontaneous destructive outbreak of cochineal beetle has occurred on stored wheel cactus on a property in the Flinders Ranges. This is being nurtured and developed with a view to possible biological control.
- A South Australian Opuntioid Management Plan was launched.
On the negative side I was disappointed to see that I and another Land Care member from Nuggety were the only Victorian representatives: no government, academic or scientific people at all so as I did the overview for Victoria, I had to explain mine was a report from “on the ground” It was a very good day, good to see a problem being really worked at.
Article by Janet Richardson – Wychitella and District Landcare Group