History Of Parra Grass

Submitted By kellyspooky25
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There were a number of exotic (introduced) plants at the Town Common. How did they get there?
Initially the Town Common environmental area was used largely as a grazing site for a variety of ruminant animals. The area incorporates a large lagoon area, which was an ideal water supply for the grazers that were situated there; however cattle owners were confronted with the issue of little pasture growth around the lagoon and thus wasted land for grazing (DERM 2012). Parra grass (Urochloa mutica) was introduced in 1880s to feed the cattle in the wet season and make use of the land around the lagoon. Originally this species originated in Africa. After its introduction, it was later observed that it was a water-loving, invasive, noxious weed that now threatens the lagoon itself (Andrews et al., 1997). Parra grass has the ability to choke waterways and has been recorded to supress native growth by up to 75%, also decreasing the number of important habitats for bird species such as brolgas and magpie geese (NQ Dry Tropics 2011). Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) is also an invasive weed that covers a vast proportion of the Town Common and was also introduced as a species intended for feeding cattle. As shown by the graph, Guinea grass dominated the first 5 metres of the transect, covering 55% of the area and then around 65% from metres five to ten. Parra grass was present closer to the lagoon, covering just over 55% of the last 5 metres of the 50 metre transect. While many invasive grasses made their way into the Town Common reserve via human intervention, other exotic species such as lantana have found their way into this environmental area via birds and mammals which transport seeds through droppings (Natural Heritage Trust 2004). Migratory birds are capable of flying in from distant lands and leaving exotic seeds or weeds in their droppings. Since there has not been