National Goal 2

Effective Control

Once an invasive plant has become established, it must be kept below economically damaging levels and prevented from spreading to new areas. Like a wildfire, an invasive plant infestation is most easily suppressed or eliminated when it is still small. After an infestation has greatly expanded, controlling around the edges prevents its further spread, while long-term control efforts should focus on the remainder of the infestation.

Objective 2.1--

Planning and Determining Priorities: Establish priorities through areawide partnership-based approaches.

Private landowners, State and Federal land management agencies, weed organizations, and interest groups should establish priorities and coordinate control efforts based on areawide invasive plant management plans.

Opportunities for partnerships: Areawide invasive plant management problems provide an excellent opportunity for diverse interests to work collaboratively, developing mutually beneficial approaches. An example of a successful areawide program is the Greater Yellowstone Weed Management Plan.

Opportunities for education: Landowners, State and Federal land managers, interest groups, and citizens can learn about each other's specific concerns regarding invasive plants and their control. Each group needs to understand the regional impact of weeds.

Opportunities for research: Site-specific control methods may need to be developed for high-priority invasive plant infestations. Studies of risks and effects of hydrologic manipulations, prescribed burning, biological control technologies, or chemical applications may be required.

Objective 2.2--

Implementing Integrated Pest Management: Practice integrated invasive plant management on an areawide basis.

Integrated invasive plant management relies on a combination of technologies. Cooperation is essential for control when infested areas include several landowners because invasive plants respect no boundaries. Factors to consider in selecting control technologies include compatibility, effectiveness, and environmental effects. Control technologies include biological, mechanical, chemical, and cultural applications. Because of the complexity of environmental, economic, and cultural concerns associated with invasive plant management, programs that are based on a combination of technologies tend to be most successful.

Opportunities for partnerships: Invasive plant management can be practiced on a single land parcel in isolation, but resource-sharing and areawide management will lead to more rapid, effective, and long-lasting control. Means should be created for all land managers, including State and Federal agencies, to share resources for integrated weed management.

Opportunities for education: Opportunities for education: Public land managers and private landowners need to learn the advantages of integrated invasive plant management methods. The general public and private interest groups need to understand the risks and benefits of control technologies proposed for use in their region. Demonstrating integrated invasive plant management practices to the public will hasten acceptance of integrated invasive plant management technologies.

Opportunities for research: Research is needed to identify, evaluate, and clear new biological and chemical controls that are safe, effective, and target-specific. Site-specific studies are needed to determine the best combinations of these controls.

Objective 2.3--

Managing Invasive Plants: Eradicate small infestations and contain expansive infestations.

Early eradication of a small infestation will save significant time and money and will be more successful than attempts to eradicate the infestation after it becomes substantial. An expansive infestation should be contained by preventing the edges from advancing, with long-term control efforts, such as biological control, focused on the core.

Opportunities for partnerships: Regionally based rapid response teams, consisting of landowners, weed specialists, botanists, foresters, and land managers should be established to provide professional assessments and recommendations regarding new weed infestations and support local efforts.

Opportunities for education: Schools, conservation groups, outdoor recreation groups, nature centers, and extension programs can inform the general public about invasive plant impacts. Interest groups and others could sponsor weed roundup activities to eradicate small or newly discovered infestations.

Opportunities for research: Eradication and control technologies for new invasive plants will be needed. Studies are needed to determine what conditions make ecosystems vulnerable to invasion so these conditions can be considered in preventing the spread of invasive plants. For many large invasive plant infestations, more work is needed to identify suitable integrated invasive plant management techniques for use in natural resource areas.