Gamba Grass Evidence
This article explains the environmental impact of Gamba grass based on 10 years' research [pdf 494.2 kb]

Flames Model

The Flames Model was developed to investigate the impact of fire over time on Gamba grass for savanna woodlands. This Flames Model simulation was created as part of the Burning Issues learning module.

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Gamba grass


An infestation of gamba grass near Darwin NT.

In northern Australia, concern has been raised about the impacts of introduced grass species, in particular Andropogon gayanus (gamba grass). Gamba grass is a perennial species of African grass that was introduced in the Northern Territory as a replacement for native pastures.

Gamba grass is a useful pasture species and can be managed if it is grazed by cattle. However gamba grass is now invading savanna ecosystems throughout the Top End of the Northern Territory and when it is not grazed it grows vigorously in tall stands that provide fuel for intense fires (Howard 2002) . These fires in turn appear to be helping the spread of gamba grass which is adept at invading burnt areas.

This invasion could have significant consequences for native communities, as well as ecosystem function and stability, comparable to the dramatic effects of invasion documented in other ecosystems (D'Antonio & Vitousek 1992, Vitousek et al. 1996). This is of particular concern as gamba grass invasion has the potential to alter all three determinants of savanna functioning: nutrient and water availability and fire regimes.