So Many Weeds, So Little Time: A Prioritization Tool for Invasive Species Management
The planning approach uses a spreadsheet document to consider both the location and the invasive species present. It looks at land units within a property, assesses ecological value and integrity, and outreach value of the land unit (ability to attract outside resources). Weed characteristics are extent, impact, and restoration effort. An index value is applied for each characteristic, generating a score for 0 to 10 for each land unit/species interaction. This initial prioritization generates a worklist by location, and the user identifies the available personnel and the operations. From this, a work calendar is produced. Primary concepts of this approach are: “Protect the Best” - work in more-intact areas first, to optimize the acres protected per unit of effort; “Bundling” - charismatic species may trigger an operation, but time the operation and equip personnel to address as many species as possible; “Control Phase vs Maintenance” - care of natural areas is perpetual, but well-directed efforts lead to a quick transition from resource intensive control efforts to ongoing maintenance that requires a tiny fraction of the original effort. In addition to planning/IPM, the presentation focuses on the details of creating a limited prescription list to simplify operations and inventory, including herbicide selection and application methods.
Art Gover, Research Associate, Wildland Weed Management Program, Penn State.