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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of a Decision-support System for the Ecologically-based Management of Cheatgrass- and Medusahead-infested Rangeland

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Prioritizing invasive plant management strategies

Authors
item Sheley, Roger
item Smith, Brenda

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 11, 2012
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/56004
Citation: Sheley, R.L., Smith, B.S. 2012. Prioritizing invasive plant management strategies. Rangelands. 34(6):11-14.

Interpretive Summary: Land managers nearly always face scarce resources when combating invasive plants. In order to provide managers with how to begin developing a management program with limited resources we propose a prioritization process to initiate invasive plant management. The highest priority is to prevent infestations from expanding into weed free areas. The second priority is to control infestations on land where desired plants remain as they often may recover once competition from invasive plants is removed. The third priority areas are those where extensive infestations of invasive plants occur; this is due to the expense of restoration and relatively low rates of success in restoring these lands.

Technical Abstract: Invasive plants are seriously impacting rangelands by displacing desirable species. Management of these species is expensive and careful allocation of scarce dollars is necessary. Ecologically-based invasive plant management (EBIPM) has the potential to provide an improved decision-making process but managers are often uncertain about how to get started implementing this type of program. We propose a three part prioritization process that land managers can easily implement as part of an EBIPM program. Where invasive plants are present there is usually land that is not yet infested. To optimize the use of resources, the highest priority should be to focus on preventing infestations on land that is weed free. The second priority would be implementing control programs on land where remnant stands of desired species exist, in this way the land may recover without additional restoration. The prioritization process places restoration of rangeland severely infested with invasive plants as the lowest priority for management.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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