BRAZILIAN PEPPER TREE THREATENS NATURAL BIODIVERSITY


A plant listed in the worldwide database “100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species” is growing rampant in the local area.

The Brazilian Pepper Tree. or broadleafed pepper tree (BPT), is well known throughout the world as a plant that destroys natural plant habitat, transmits citrus disease and mango mould and is a haven for mosquitos, insects and bugs.

The tree has been identified in large stands in the Beachmere area extending from the Caboolture River estuary and throughout the mangroves down to the beachside area as well as north to the Toorbul foreshore including Bribie Island and the Pumicestone Passage.

The connecting roads and waterways act as corridors for the dispersal of seeds and plants with riparian systems (banks of rivers or wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams) particularly vulnerable to BPT incursion.

Beachmere resident Eileen, who recently returned from Florida, has been leading the campaign to increase awareness of this plant and has contacted Moreton Bay Regional Council and is in contact with the State Premier who has referred the matter to the Minister for Agricultural Industry, Development and Fisheries.

“BPT is able to adapt to different climates and soils which is a significant factor in its ability to take over large areas of land,” Eileen said.

“The Council have taken action and has removed an extensive stand of the trees at the Rogers Street Sports Complex in Beachmere.”

“An awareness campaign is the first step in telling landowners, farmers and residents how destructive these plants are.

“The State Government, and Moreton Bay Regional Council, need to start action immediately to start removing these plants before they completely take over our natural environment, spreading plant diseases and aid transmission of human disease by giving mosquitos a haven to flourish,” Eileen said.

The Brazilian Pepper Tree (schinus terebinthiolius) is native to Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil and is a restricted, invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.  The species was introduced to Florida in mid-1800 for use as an ornamental plant and they have spent millions of dollars in eradication campaigns in recent years.

This species is an aggressive woody weed growing into a large, spreading tree.  It has dark green leaves, small, whitish flowers and red, bunched, glossy, round fruits.  It displaces native vegetation and rapidly invades disturbed sites; it crowds out native plants and destroys the habitat for animals and birds that depend on native plants. (Qld Gov’t)

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It is also believed that it changes the microbioeme – the micro organisms that live underground – and is considered a key factor in the poor recovery or limited success of planting native vegetation for recovery after BPT incursion has been removed.




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