Our guest speaker Melinda Laidlaw will speak on The importance of early detection in reducing the impact of environmental weeds. A significant time lag can exist between the initial naturalization of a non-native species and its expansion to become an environmental weed. Detection of the weed in these early phases of expansion via active surveillance can make the difference between achieving eradication or instead, inheriting an ongoing, costly and time consuming management issue.

Members of the Weed Spotters’ Network in Queensland are involved in active surveillance for new and emerging weed threats across the state. Participants are trained to help find, identify and document new occurrences of potential and existing weeds at an early stage so that appropriate action can be taken.

Melinda Laidlaw is a senior ecologist at the Queensland Herbarium with a background in regional ecosystem mapping, rainforest ecology, species distribution modelling and now weeds. Melinda coordinates the Weed Spotters’ Network Queensland, a citizen science collaboration between DSITI and DAF which involves the community in the early detection of new and emerging weeds.