BIOLOGICALLY BASED INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF WEEDS ON WESTERN RANGELAND WATERSHEDS
Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research
Project Number: 5325-22000-022-00
Start Date: Feb 06, 2007
End Date: Oct 31, 2010
1: Investigate ecological mechanisms important for the development of bio-rational strategies for suppression of exotic and invasive weeds on western watersheds.
Sub-objective 1.A. Conduct foreign exploration for natural enemies of saltcedar and cruciferous weeds, and evaluate candidate species for risk to non-target organisms.
Sub-objective 1.B. Conduct organismal, population, and community-level ecological studies of weed natural enemies and their interactions with the environment.
Sub-objective 1.C. Develop remote-sensing technologies useful in evaluating and characterizing weed biological control strategies.
2: Define ecosystem responses to integrated weed management and identify and test appropriate restoration technologies.
Sub-objective 2.A. Determine the interactive effects of Diorhabda elongata herbivory and saltcedar defoliation on the ecohydrology of riparian ecosystems.
Sub-objective 2.B. Monitor native plant and animal taxa as potential indicators of impacts of saltcedar control at successive trophic levels.
Sub-objective 2.C. Investigate restoration and rehabilitation strategies following integrative control of invasive weeds in riparian ecosystems.
3a: Determine the effects of integrated weed suppression (particularly saltcedar) and woody plant removal (pinyon and juniper) on ecosystem processes such as water and carbon cycling, and on long-term successional processes (including wildfire), insect impacts on invasion, and restoration processes to facilitate science-based rehabilitation and restoration of lands invaded by these weeds.
3b: Develop restoration methodologies to prevent the invasion of annual grasses (such as cheatgrass, medusahead, and red brome) following destructive events (such as fire) in rangeland ecosystems.
New biological control agents of saltcedar will be identified, characterized, and evaluated for both efficacy and safety in conjunction with on-going projects on saltcedar biological control and management. This work will be accomplished with other projects within the Research Unit and with cooperators at other ARS locations. Additional linkages with overseas cooperators in areas native to saltcedar will also be developed to aid in the assessment of potential biological control agents prior to regulatory approval. New risk analysis techniques will be developed and applied to assess both pre- and post-release impacts of approved biological control agents on target and non-target organisms. Detailed studies will be conducted to assess natural enemy impact on the target plant along with similar impacts caused by other methods of integrated vegetation management strategies. Studies will be conducted in both agricultural and natural areas for vegetation characterization and change. New methods of revegetation of affected habitats will be conducted using ecological methods guiding plant succession toward desired beneficial species. Species complexes are expected to be different depending upon the specific habitats of concern, environmental conditions at affected sites, and the goals of the local land managers. Research procedures will strive to produced effective and economically viable methods of revegetation that are practical for both public and private land management agencies. FY10 Program Increase $135,000