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Principles for Ecologically Based Invasive Plant Management
- James, Jeremy J., Smith, Brenda S., Vasquez, Edward A., Sheley, Roger L.
- Invasive plant science and management 2010 v.3 no.3 pp. 229
- plants, invasive species, land management, ecosystems, environmental assessment, weed control, ecological succession, environmental factors, species differences, plant communities, land restoration
- Land managers have long identified a critical need for a practical and effective framework for designing restoration strategies, especially where invasive plants dominate. A holistic, ecologically based, invasive plant management (EBIPM) framework that integrates ecosystem health assessment, knowledge of ecological processes, and adaptive management into a successional management model has recently been proposed. However, well-defined principles that link ecological processes that need to be repaired to tools and strategies available to managers have been slow to emerge, thus greatly limiting the ability of managers to easily apply EBIPM across a range of restoration scenarios. The broad objective of this article is to synthesize current knowledge of the mechanisms and processes that drive plant community succession into ecological principles for EBIPM. Using the core concepts of successional management that identify site availability, species availability, and species performance as three general drivers of plant community change, we detail key principles that link management tools used in EBIPM to the ecological processes predicted to influence the three general causes of succession. Although we acknowledge that identification of principles in ecology has greatly lagged behind other fields and recognize that identification of ecological principles and the conditions in which they hold are still being developed, we demonstrate how current knowledge and future advances can be used to structure a holistic EBIPM framework that can be applied across a range of restoration scenarios.