Collaboration Corner

 View Only

WeedScan: A new weapon in the war against weeds

By Centre for Invasive Species Solutions posted 03-04-2024 11:23

Weeds are one of the biggest threats to Australia’s biodiversity, agriculture and economy, costing us about $5 billion a year in lost productivity, control and environmental damage. They represent a serious risk to our native flora, fauna and water quality and contribute to bushfire risk with additional fuel loads.
Recent floods across the country have the potential to trigger the next surge of weeds in Australia. Floods can spread seeds and plant parts to new areas that may have been weed-free. These conditions can also be favourable for weed germination, growth and reduced competition from other plants and animals. Major weeds at risk of further spread include Siam weed, miconia (purple plague) and Limnocharis.
But weeds are not invincible. We have a new weapon in our arsenal to fight them: WeedScan, Australia’s first artificial intelligence weed identification, notification and management app.
WeedScan is a game changer for anyone who cares about our environment and our future. It’s a free, easy-to-use digital tool that enables users to identify, report and map priority weeds simply by scanning the suspected weed. This powerful new tool can help us prevent, detect and respond to weed invasions. It can help us protect our precious natural resources and our livelihoods.
Already the app has had over 10,000 downloads since its launch in December 2023 and users have submitted more than 3,000 weed records from around the country.
One of the key features of WeedScan is that it can identify many new and emerging priority weeds - not garden weeds - that may be unknown to most people. These are the weeds that have the potential to become the next big threat, if left unchecked.
WeedScan can alert users and local authorities of these incursions, allowing them to take swift and effective action. It can also provide users with links to local weed management information and best practice guidelines.

WeedScan identifying St John's wort

The app is not a substitute for human expertise, but a complement. It can help users learn more about weeds and their impacts while connecting them with others who share their concerns and goals.
WeedScan is an app built by Australians, for Australians. It is tailored to our unique conditions and challenges. It is an app that can make a difference.
The app is supported by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, Australia’s national science agency - CSIRO, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the South Australian, Queensland and Victorian Governments and was funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. It is the result of years of research and development, involving botanists, agronomists, computer scientists and community groups.
Try the WeedScan app now: it’s available on most smartphones or as a web application at Download it to join the effort in winning the war against weeds.

Additional information:

WeedScan resources: A place for all WeedScan resources – from introductory guides to user support on web and mobile, as well as information for biosecurity officers and state coordinators.

Video guide: Top tips and tricks for using the WeedScan app.