University ecologist honoured for management of alpine pest

May 14 / 137

The team was honoured for their work to contain and manage hawkweed in the Alpine National Park.
The team was honoured for their work to contain and manage hawkweed in the Alpine National Park.

A research team led by Dr Nick Williams from the Melbourne School of Land and Environment (MSLE) has been named one of two recipients of Parks Victoria’s inaugural Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award for his work managing highly invasive weeds in Victoria’s Alpine National Park.

This award presented by Parks Victoria honours the late Professor Nancy Millis who a celebrated University of Melbourne Microbiologist, Chair of Parks Victoria’s Science and Management Effectiveness Advisory Committee, and a member of Parks Victoria Board’s sub-committee on Environment. 

Dr Williams and the Hawkweed Project research teams in the Alpine National Park worked in close partnership with Parks Victoria Staff for almost a decade to protect the park’s biodiversity and transform its hawkweed control into a targeted, cutting edge program.

The Hawkweed Project team also included Dr Cindy Hauser (Botany), Professor Roger Cousens (Department of Resource Management and Geography), Kate Giljohann (Botany), Iris Curran and Charlie Pascoe (Parks Victoria).

“The award is affirmation that the research we and our partners at Parks Victoria are undertaking to prevent Hawkweeds from taking over the Australian Alps is of real benefit to the community,” he said. 

“It is enabling management agencies to make informed decisions on control strategies and the most effective use of increasingly scarce conservation funding.”

The Hawkweed Project was a joint recipient with a team led by Dr Joslin Moore from Monash University, which worked on research into managing willow invasion on the Bogong High Plains. 

Parks Victoria Chief Executive Dr Bill Jackson said the award was being presented to the two research teams for their outstanding contribution to fostering excellence in applied science for the benefit of park management.

“Both projects demonstrated the researchers’ strong willingness to work closely with park managers to understand the extent and challenge of the weed problems. They also demonstrated leading edge science in solving difficult problems,” he said. 

“Dr Williams’ research and the work being done by all the partners on this project also benefits private landowners as hawkweeds have the potential to invade agricultural land and significantly affect agricultural production.”

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