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Use of Chemicals

Advice on how to minimise potential negative impacts of the use of any chemicals to an area

What do we mean?

The common sources of chemicals which can impact on threatened species include pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.


General points to consider

  • Chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides can have direct effects on threatened plants and animals through the poisoning of non-target species. 
  • Fertilisers can lead to the death of threatened plants species, including many orchids. Orchid growth may be hampered by the increased competition created by the invigorated growth of pasture plants and weeds. Also, orchid roots form symbiotic associations with mycorrhizal fungi that enhance the plant’s uptake of phosphorus. The addition of fertiliser can upset the symbiotic association by causing the fungus to concentrate phosphates to a toxic level.
  • Chemicals can also have far-reaching indirect effects through run-off into waterways, entry into the food chain, and persistence as long term residues in the soil.
  • Consider the impacts of chemical use not only at the site where the activity is being carried out, but also in areas where the chemicals might be carried by wind or water.
  • See the NRE Guidelines for Safe and Effective Herbicide Use Near Water for more information on using chemicals near waterways.
  • When using herbicides and pesticides, always read the label!



The agencies most commonly responsible for regulating this activity are listed below (but refer also to the Permits section on the Planning Ahead page):