National Goal 3

Effective Restoration

Invasive plant infestations displace native plant communities, increase erosion, decrease agricultural productivity, and disrupt ecosystem processes. Restoration or rehabilitation is intended to return the lost components or functions to degraded lands. Restoration is a crucial next step after invasive plant control or eradication; without it, areas are subject to reinvasion. Native plant communities and ecosystem processes should be restored to natural areas, productive crops to agricultural lands, native forage to rangelands, and healthy understories to forests.

Objective 3.1--

Formulating Methods and Procedures: Develop and implement effective restoration methods and procedures for invasive plant-degraded areas.

The practice of restoring degraded lands and maintaining their productivity is relatively new and there is much to learn about how this is best accomplished.

Opportunities for partnerships: Restoration provides excellent opportunities for collaborative demonstration projects. Nurseries, land management agencies, conservation groups, schools, local businesses, recreation groups, weed organizations, and others can work together to eradicate invasive plants and revegetate with appropriate species. Through partnerships, areawide plans to restore missing components or disrupted processes to degraded lands will be feasible.

Opportunities for education: Informing the public about the benefits of restoring native species, increased agricultural productivity, and natural areas with associated social, economic, and biological benefits will lead to adoption of restoration efforts.

Opportunities for research: Methods are needed for restoring ecosystem biodiversity and productivity to appropriate levels after invasive plant control and to determine when an area is sufficiently restored and stable. Assessments of the economic, ecological, and social advantages of restoration and maintenance are needed to demonstrate the cost-benefit ratio of efforts to restore ecosystems

Objective 3.2--

Promoting Stewardship: Encourage activities that help keep lands and waters free from invasive plants.

This objective brings the National Strategy full circle and back to National Goal 1, Prevention. If we can maintain restored lands, we will certainly be making progress. Certain land uses and activities are more likely to contribute to natural environments, and these should be encouraged.

Opportunities for partnerships: Enterprises in the agriculture and outdoor recreation industries could work with public land management agencies and weed organizations to develop plans for weed-free practices. Private and State nurseries can work with State and Federal conservation agencies to provide materials for revegetation projects. An invasive plant-prevention code of ethics could be developed and adopted by concerned land users.

Opportunities for education: All land users, including visitors to parks and natural areas, should understand what practices can prevent the spread of invasive plants and be encouraged to apply an invasive plant-prevention code of ethics.

Opportunities for research: Methods for screening and certifying that pack animal feed is free of weed seed and that "native" wildflower garden mixes contain no nonnative seed content are needed. Additional monitoring of natural areas and better information on the effectiveness of various weed-prevention practices are needed.