What We Do
Here in Alice Springs we live in the arid zone, a climatic zone that comprises 70% of the Australia’s area. Parts of the arid zone are deserts but due to its position in Tjortja (the Macdonnell Ranges) Alice Springs and surrounds is a well vegetated with a diverse suite of plants and animals. This richness allowed the Arrernte people to maintain a strong culture here over thousands of years into the present. It is also why invasive plants, especially grasses, have been able to establish dense populations here. Controlling weeds, such as buffel grass, allows native plants to re-establish in treated areas, protects older trees and shrubs and allows juvenile trees to progress through their life cycle. Because of the harshness of the climate many plants have long lived seed that can wait out the hard times and take advantage of the good times.
Formed in 2008, Alice Springs Landcare Inc. (ASL) is a community managed group dedicated to tackling weeds and other issues relating to the conservation of native vegetation in Alice Springs. By carefully removing weeds from selected areas we reduce the impact of intense fires that weed grasses promote and provide space for native plants to germinate, grow and set seed. These living seed banks are part of an insurance policy for the future the plants and animals that depend on the particular conditions that occur here. Proof of the inherent richness of the area is the made clear by plant surveys that reveal 100 or more species growing in areas as small as a hectare.
Sub-groups of ASL are active at Ankerre Ankerre (Coolibah Swamp), Ilparpa Valley, Spencer Valley, Kurrajong, Todd River, and Maynard Park (Northside).
- The groups actively hand weed and spray buffel and other weed grasses at key times to reduce the risk of fire wiping out established trees and shrubs, and in the longer term giving space for native plants to re-establish themselves in the area.
- Annual cactus removal days are carried out to try and eradicate the 4 types of Cylindropuntia cactus. ASL has removed over 4000kg of a prickly garden escapee in Spencer Valley and surrounding hills, Anzac Hill, Grant Road and in the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve.
- In 2021, at the request of the family of Monika Billing, a eucalyptus enthusiast who perished in Central Australia, ASL developed and planted a memorial garden at the Gosse St Park
- ASL works with residents and the Alice Springs Town Council to better manage areas of native vegetation within the town boundaries.
- In 2022 ASL commenced work on a short film to assist in buffel management in Alice Springs and surrounds.
- ASL advocates across multiple forums for better care of this country.