Exploring Biological Control Methods for Gorse
What is the Gorse Biocontrol Project?
Landcare Tasmania is fighting gorse with biological control – in other words, with insects and fungi.
Gorse is an incredibly invasive weed which is widespread across Tasmania, and is highly detrimental to agriculture and the environment. Gorse control by hand or with machinery is very challenging and resource intensive. The Gorse Biocontrol Project aims to contribute to the control of the weed in the North and North-West of the state, by spreading two of the natural enemies of gorse:
- The Gorse Soft Shoot Moth, and,
- Paraconiothyrium sp- a type of fungi which is native to Tasmania.
Image: Moth Webbing bending the tips of the gorse © Jakob Sprickerhof
Biological control is the use of insects and fungi to kill a specific plant. The Gorse Moth, which was first released in Tasmania in 2007, and Paraconiothyrium sp, which is native to Tasmania, have been observed as being extremely damaging to gorse when used together. More research is needed, but so far this strategy shows promise of being another much - needed approach in the fight against gorse.
Image: Site Map of Biocontrol Release Areas
Landcare Tasmania has released the biological control agents at sites across the North and North West of the state. As a part of the project, we have also held an information session for the public, led by biological control expert John Ireson, about biological control agents for a variety of weeds.
Landcare Tasmania's Gorse Biocontrol Project has been made possible thanks to donations from the JM Roberts Charitable Trust. This project forms part of our Landscape Restoration Program which brings Landcarers together for a greater long-term benefit at a landscape scale.