Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2004
Publication Date: 2/1/2005
Citation: Goodwin, K., Sheley, R.L. 2005. Cooperative rangeland protection from invasive weed spread [abstract]. Society for Range Management. Paper No. 130.
Technical Abstract: Invasive weeds infest over 3 million ha in Montana and continue to spread into healthy, weed-free rangeland ecosystems over 10 percent per year, in spite of statewide management. The protection of healthy rangelands from rapid weed invasion is immediately needed. This need is addressed as a pilot project in 12 Montana counties, encompassing over 1.5 million ha. The development of Weed Prevention Areas (WPAs), delineated as high-quality, weed-free rangelands prioritized for prevention, directs coordinated protection from rapid weed spread. Weed Prevention Areas follow the same cooperative, local-level strategy of Weed Management Areas where land managers within a geographic area work collectively to manage common weed problems. But WPAs offer a proactive approach where prioritized rangelands are protected and complex and costly weed problems are avoided. Weed Prevention Areas work as local-level, early detection / rapid response mechanisms comprised of unified rancher groups that share common goals to protect native plant resources and livelihoods from invasive weeds. Long-term WPA protection is guided by rancher-designed, WPA-specific, integrated plans of prevention, early intervention, and ecosystem management. Weed Prevention Areas aim to protect producer profits, wildlife based expenditures, and local economies from the permanent impacts of invasive weeds by preventing invasion of additional lands. Case studies will demonstrate how WPAs are being implemented in rural communities.