The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation recently published research on impediments to the adoption of weed control. It appears to make a lot of sense, and while specific to serrated tussock, is probably relevant to most weeds. I have summarised the research below.
Weed infestations often derive from collective inaction. Any solution will therefore need to involve collective action, where individuals can trust that a critical mass of their neighbours will be adopting weed control just as they are. Community-based approaches may help to foster this trust by strengthening social norms and informal monitoring and sanctioning.
The research identified barriers to weed control:
· Poor control on neighbouring properties, resulting in continual reinfestation for those who attempt to manage the weed.
· Lack of time, money and labour, and off-property commitments.
· Information not necessarily reaching all end users.
· High ‘turnover’ of property owners (and absentee landholders).
· Turnover of extension and government agency staff, resulting in loss of local knowledge and positive relationships.
· A sense of apathy and futility regarding control.
· Inability to correctly identify weeds.
· Aversion to herbicide use.
· Inadequate enforcement.
Motivation to adopt effective management practices include:
· Protecting profitability and nipping new outbreaks in the bud
· Protecting social cohesion with their community
· Having a strong environmental stewardship ethic