This Royalties for Regions and GNRBA funded project aims to utilise innovative technologies (thermal imaging and NDVI) to identify locations of cacti, leading to a more targeted approach to eradication. By managing this invasive weed, through identification then eradication, the region will be able to continue to build long term sustainability plans both on private land and public. This will have benefits for current and future pastoralists, tourists and government.
Currently, Hudson Pear and Coral cacti eradication is being conducted using personnel walking through scrub looking for cacti plants and spraying them when found. This method is labour intensive and time consuming, to make sure every plant is found and treated. It is also difficult to reach some areas where plants may be flourishing.
Four locations of 80ha were selected and mapped (Menzies, Mertondale, Coolgardie and Tarmoola Station) using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with mounted Near-Infrared camera for mapping large infestations, plus ground-based thermal imaging technology to identify infestations that are obscured by low to medium shrubs and woodland canopies. The sites have since been narrowed down to two, Coolgardie and Tarmoola, in order to provide more detail and allow the use of higher resolution technologies to further explore the use of these innovations.
By utilising new technologies to find and map cacti in the southern Rangelands, it is hoped that the treatment and management of the cacti will become more effective, time efficient and strategic. It is anticipated that UAV’s will be able to be used to cover wider areas more quickly (and in some cases cover areas of impenetrable terrain) to locate the plants then transfer the data into maps. These maps will then be able to be used for the treatment of plants to be conducted in a more strategic manner, or plans put into place to investigate ways of treating any plants found in inaccessible parts of the landscape.
For more information please contact GNRBA Executive Officer, Michelle Donaldson by email: CEO@gnrba.com.au