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Steve Young

National Program Leader
Steve Young, NPL

Weeds and Invasive Pests
Crop Production and Protection
Office of National Programs

Phone: 301-504-6252
Fax: 301-504-6191


The focus of my work has been to address the why and how questions related to improving the management practices of natural and agricultural ecosystems. My primary interest is in weedy and invasive plants, but similar lines of research could be applied to challenges in the associated fields of entomology, plant pathology, soil microbiology, restoration ecology, agronomy, animal science, and human nutrition. By developing management approaches that account for the ecology and biology of systems at a range of scales, environmental and human health can be sustained over the long term along with profitability. My ultimate goal is to provide science-based information that people can use to understand how to better manage systems and think critically about the techniques and practices, which are needed to protect the land and support livelihoods both now and in the future.

Professional Preparation

University of California, DavisSoils & BiogeochemistryPh.D.2007
University of Idaho Plant ScienceM.S.2000
Washington State UniversityHorticultureB.S.1996


2021 - presentNational Program Leader, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD
2018 - 2021Assistant Professor, Utah State University, Logan, UT
2015 - 2018Adjunct Assistant Professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
2014 - 2018Director, Northeastern IPM Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
2010 - 2014Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, North Platte, NE
2008 - 2010Post Doctoral Research Assistant, Washington State University, Prosser, WA

Publications (selected)

  1. Young SL (2020) A unifying approach for IWM. Weed Science 68:435-436.
  2. Young SL, Kettenring KM (2020) The social-ecological system driving effective invasive plant management: two case studies of non-native Phragmites. Journal of Environmental Management 2020 Aug 1; 267:110612.
  3. Young SL (2018) Beyond precision weed control: a model for true integration. Weed Technology 32(1):7-10.
  4. Young SL, Clements DR, DiTommaso A (2017) Climate dynamics, invader fitness, and biotic resistance in an invasion-factor framework. Invasive Plant Science and Management 10(3): 215-231
  5. Volesky JD, Young SL, Jenkins KH (2016) Cattle grazing effects on Phragmites australis in Nebraska. Invasive Plant Science and Management 9(2):121-127.
  6. Young SL (2015) When an invasive plant fails to invade. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13(8):450-451.
  7. Han C, Young SL (2014) Drought and grazing disturbances and resistance to invasion by warm- and cool-season perennial grassland communities. Ecological Restoration 32:28-36.
  8. Young SL, Pierce FJ, Nowak P (2014) Introduction: Scope of the problem – rising costs and demand for environmental safety for weed control. InYoung SL, Pierce FJ (eds) Automation: The Future of Weed Control in Cropping Systems. New York: Springer, pp. 1-10
  9. Young SL, Giles DK (2014) Targeted and microdose chemical applications. InYoung SL, Pierce FJ (eds) Automation: The Future of Weed Control in Cropping Systems New York: Springer, pp. 139-150
  10. Young SL, Meyer GE, Woldt W (2014) Future directions for automated weed management in precision agriculture. InYoung SL, Pierce FJ (eds) Automation: The Future of Weed Control in Cropping Systems New York: Springer, pp. 249-260
  11. Han C, Young SL (2013) Ecology of musk thistle (Carduus nutans) seed germination for grasslands of temperate climates. Weed Science 61:549-556.
  12. Young SL (2012) True integrated weed management. Weed Research 52:107-111.
  13. Young SL, Kyser GB, et al (2011) The role of light and soil moisture in resistance to invasion by yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis). Restoration Ecology 19:599-606.
  14. Young SL, Kyser GB, et al (2010) Spatio-temporal relationship between water depletion and root distribution patterns of Centaurea solstitialis and two native perennials. Restoration Ecology 18:323-333.
  15. Young SL JN Barney, et al (2009) Functionally similar species confer greater resistance to invasion: implications for grassland restoration. Restoration Ecol. 17(6):884-892.
  16. Young SL and VP Claassen (2008) Native perennial grasses in highway medians: pre- and post-plant techniques for establishment in a Mediterranean climate. Invasive Plant Science and Management 1(4):368-375.
  17. Young SL (2004) Natural product herbicides for control of annual vegetation along roadsides. Weed Technology 18(3):580-587.