Many plant and animal species introduced into South Australia throughout the early years of settlement became invasive and significantly impacted on large areas of the South Australian landscape. The need for plant and animal pest control became prevalent. In 1852 the first pest recognized under South Australian legislation was scotch thistle. The Thistle Act 1852 was introduced requiring South Australian landholders to control the pest plant on their properties. Over the next 150 years of settlement, legislation was introduced to cover a range of natural resource management issues.
The following history of pests, weeds and control fence management in South Australia has been one of discovering issues and then applying legislation and programs to address them. For example during the 1940's dingo attacks made it impossible to successfully establish a sheep industry and so in 1946, a single-line dog fence was established in South Australia. Legislation was introduced to curb the spread of weed plants and feral animals that were introduced through European migration. The earliest case being The Thistle Act of 1852 that was proclaimed to prevent the spread Scotch Thistle which grew prolifically, choking fields of pastures and crops (see Animal and Plant Control). In the 1880's, the NSW/SA boundary was netted for a distance of 300 miles, to prevent rabbits spreading to NSW from SA. (see Rabbit Proof Fence).