Collaborative efforts needed to combat threat of invasive plants
Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:02 pm
Rangelands—Exotic plant species are invading the world’s rangelands at an unprecedented rate, imposing both ecological and economic costs. Identifying the causes of invasive plant expansion can contribute to the planning and execution of successful management techniques. Collaboration between resource managers and research scientists is needed to offer future generations more effective strategies to prevent and control invasive plant species.
A special issue of the journal Rangelands, focusing on the development of long-term countermeasures for invasive rangeland plants, was produced to commemorate the first joint meeting of The Society for Range Management and the Weed Science Society of America held in February 2010. The issue is sponsored by the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and Dow AgroServices.
The rapid movement of people and goods throughout the world has introduced invasive plant species both intentionally and accidentally. Invasive plant species have been introduced onto rangelands through disturbance, global change and land fragmentation. Species competition and resource availability are factors in plants becoming established. Plants can spread and propagate into new areas and, when they become dominant, have a decided impact on the ecosystem.
Plant invasion is a continuing process rather than an isolated event. Management efforts and restoration of natural species require identifying ecological principles and the conditions in which they hold true. Effective strategies are needed to prevent introduction of invasive plants and to repair ecological processes that enable them to establish, spread and impact rangelands.
There are many opportunities for researchers and land managers to affect the invasion process. Future research should address interactions of the contributing stressors. Additionally, there may be a need to develop new management strategies for coexisting with invasive plants.
Full text of the article, “Invasive Plants on Rangelands: A Global Threat,” is available at http://www2.allenpress.com/pdf/rala32.1FNL.pdf