Human geographer Dr Jennifer Atchison from the University of Wollongong's Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities has been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship.
Dr Atchison was awarded $934,000 over four years, for her project "Transforming invasive plant management in northern Australia"
The project is about social and ecological transformation in northern Australia attributed to invasive plants. It aims to better understand the record of deliberate plant introductions in the past, as well as the contemporary relationship between invasive plants and development.
"The pace and scale of contemporary environmental and social change in northern Australia really demands that we understand the nature of this transformation, and also how we might best equip land managers and communities to deal with the problems weeds bring," Dr Atchison said.
Dr Atchison, a member of UOW's Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space, said that while these ecological changes are already recognised as problematic, what is less well understood is how weeds and the practices of weed management are affecting people and communities.
"Weed management is now a very large component of land management programs and it carries significant advantages such as employment and training - but there are potential costs and social challenges," she said.
"Weed management can be a drain on resources; it costs land managers significant time and money. Further, it can lead to social conflict, either because people have different values and goals in relation to environmental outcomes, and/or because the tenacious nature of some plants makes them exceedingly difficult to deal with."
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