Invasive plants and animals have the potential to impact on production systems through reducing the productivity of grazing lands, yield losses and contamination of agricultural products or through material and labour costs for their control. They also threaten and compete with terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.

The Queensland Herbarium has recorded more than 300 introduced plant species in the region. Weeds data from the Northern Gulf has identified 56 weeds of importance in the Northern Gulf Region of which 13 were classed as high priority, including bellyache bush, gamba grass, giants rats tail grass, grader grass, hymenachne, partheium, physic nut, prickly acacia, rubber vine, siam weed, sickle pod, water hyacinth and asbestos grass.

Climate change may effect weed spread by creating new opportunities for invasive species to recruit, spread and increase in abundance. Changes in habitat will give opportunities for weeds and exotics to replace natives as the conditions become less than ideal. Increases in the growth and recruitment of invasive weeds are likely to follow severe cyclones. More niches for weeds and ferals will be created with large scale climatic disturbance like strong winds and flooding. Invasive grasses may spread to dominate savanna ecosystems as climatic conditions change.

The pest animals that have the greatest abundance and pose greatest threat to the Northern Gulf ecosystems include feral pigs, cats and dogs. These impact production and ecosystems across the Northern Gulf region by preying upon and competing with native fauna, competing with livestock for native pasture, and degrading habitat by assisting in the spread of invasive weeds. Seasonally inundated waterholes and creek beds in the dry tropics are likely to be increasingly impacted by invasive animals, particularly pigs.