In 2000, the then Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage worked with the Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management and other experts to identify plant species that are in the early stages of establishment and have the potential to become a significant threat to biodiversity if they are not managed. As a result, 28 non-native weeds that have established naturalised populations in the wild have been placed on the National Environmental Alert List (the Alert List).
The Alert List complements the Weeds of National Significance (WONS) list, which includes weeds already causing significant agricultural, forestry and environmental damage.
Species were identified for the Alert List based on three criteria:
- posing a high or serious potential threat to the environment
- having limited distribution within Australia at present
- being amenable to successful eradication or containment programs.