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Implementing Strategic Weed Prevention Programs to Protect Rangeland Ecosystems

Smith Brenda S., Sheley Roger L.
Invasive plant science and management 2015 v.8 no.2 pp. 233-242
case studies, cost effectiveness, decision making, ecosystems, education programs, invasive species, managers, models, outreach, planning, ranching, rangelands, terminology, watersheds, weed control, weeds
Weed prevention is recognized as one of the most cost-effective management strategies for invasive plants. In the field of invasive plant management increasing emphasis is being directed toward proactive management. However, land managers are still somewhat reluctant to aggressively employ prevention programs. Part of this reluctance could be due to lack of understanding of what a comprehensive prevention program entails. The purpose of this paper is to improve strategic decision-making for site-specific prevention programs, such as those on ranches or in watersheds. Our interest is in advancing prevention planning for land managers—the people who are faced with the constant pressure of potential invasive species infestations on a day-to-day basis. To facilitate more widespread use of prevention programs we are proposing definitions for key terminology to standardize and facilitate communication about prevention programs. Additionally, we present a flow model with the steps necessary to successfully implement such programs. The model has three categories from which specific prevention planning occurs: (1) education, (2) early detection and eradication, and (3) interruption of movement. The flow model directs users through a series of interlinked steps. Finally, we provide a case study in which a ranch manager implemented a prevention program using this framework. By using this model, managers are poised to conduct more strategic planning. This model also has applications in outreach and education programs to assist land managers in prevention planning.