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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Research Project #421093

Research Project: Landscape-Level Assessment and Management of Invasive Weeds and their Impacts in Agricultural and Natural Systems

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Project Number: 2030-22000-024-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Apr 8, 2011
End Date: Dec 14, 2015

Objective 1: Determine invasive weed species growth, development, reproduction, population dynamics and spread across complex landscapes. Objective 2: Develop predictive models of invasive species interactions at population, community and landscape scales, addressing interactions with other species, variation of biological responses to physical processes, and resultant impacts on ecosystem function. Objective 3: For weeds such as yellow starthistle, pennywort, saltcedar, Eurasian watermilfoil, Brazilian waterweed, curlyleaf pondweed, giant reed, water primrose, and water hyacinth, develop adaptive management models using remote sensing products, spatially explicit biological data and other tools to aid in assessing the impact and management of invasive species on natural resources, ecological processes, and forage production and quality. Objective 4: Integrate landscape ecology into decision support and assessment tools for farmers, ranchers and land/water resource managers. Objective 5: Develop IPM programs for control of key invasive insect and mite pests of specialty crops in California.

To address this research area we propose to partner with other research groups specializing in spatial technology (e.g. NASA-Ames) to develop a better understanding of large-scale weed invasions and related ecological issues. Such an effort is expected to provide new methods to improve management of these problems at the spatial scales necessary to develop economic and sustainable land use practices that optimize overall ecosystem processes. In parallel with these approaches, we also see an increasing overlap of agriculture, urban and natural area activities that often affect one another, with little thought given to developing management technologies that address wider resource management goals. The research proposed in this project aims to begin assessing the invasive species crisis and these wider interacting issues, by linking conventional weed science approaches with new ecosystem management tools through partnerships between USDA-ARS, NASA and appropriate university colleagues. Although the funds specified in this project are exclusively USDA-ARS funds, supporting ARS scientists, the proposal itself has been written jointly with colleagues from different agencies as direct collaborators to provide a holistic melding of basic biological research with landscape level tools such as area-wide remote sensing, spatial characterization of environmental heterogeneity and synthesis of ecological understanding through area-wide data collection and modeling. Specific tools such as satellite and aerial-based remote sensing, parallel processing computing and network-based environmental prediction will form the basis of jointly planed and implemented studies. This work will have the goal of shedding new light on invasive species management in the context of wider scope issues, such as overall integrated vegetation and natural resources management, while facilitating sustainable ecosystem processes. Thus our goal is to develop, apply, assess and make available new landscape level tools for the management of agricultural, natural and urban ecosystems, as they relate to invasive plant management and related activities in representative western watersheds.