Space matters when defining effective management for invasive plants

Citation: Meier, E. S., Dullinger, S., Zimmermann, N. E., Baumgartner, D. Gattringer, A. and Hülber, K. (2014) Space matters when defining effective management for invasive plants. Diversity and Distributions, 20(9); 1029–1043

Wiey Online Library

Abstract: Aim – Invasive alien species are a threat to biodiversity and can harm resident plants, animals, humans and infrastructure. To reduce deleterious effects, effective management planning for invasive plants is required. Currently, the effectiveness of management is primarily optimized locally through eradication of individual populations. By contrast, spatial prioritization of control activities at the landscape level has received less attention, despite its potential to improve management planning in complex landscapes, especially under budget constraints. Location – North-eastern Switzerland, Europe. Methods – We used a dynamic simulation model to evaluate the effectiveness of spatially designed management planning for controlling the expansion of three invasive alien plants (IAPs; Heracleum mantegazzianum, Impatiens glandulifera and Reynoutria japonica) across a heterogeneous landscape in North-eastern Switzerland. The model predicted the spread of IAPs from their current distribution under constraints of 361 control options differing in local intensity, frequency, duration, area and spatial prioritization of eradication measures. Results – Our results demonstrate that IAP-control actions under a restricted budget are more effective if control actions are spatially prioritized. Most effective spatial treatments generally prioritized small populations in the case of the annual species and large populations in the case of the perennial species. Further, applying intensive control at early stages generally increased effectiveness of control. Main conclusions – For IAP-management planning, our findings suggest that control should be applied early when IAPs start spreading, to maximize success or minimize costs. Further, spatial prioritization schemes are particularly useful under limited financial means for IAP-management. Finally, our modelling approach may serve as a proof of concept to evaluate the effectiveness of control actions of various IAPs in complex landscapes.

Urban ragweed populations in vacant lots: An ecological perspective on management

Citation: Katz, D.S.W., Connor Barrie, B.T., Carey, T.S. (2014) Urban ragweed populations in vacant lots: An ecological perspective on management. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. 13 (4); 756 – 760

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Abstract: Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) is one of the most prolific producers of allergenic pollen in North America, and negatively impacts tens of millions of people each year. Recent work shows that local plant populations can be the most important source of allergenic pollen in the urban environment. This research emphasizes that management choices that influence species abundance can determine the burden of allergenic pollen for people living near these plant populations. In Detroit, MI, USA, ragweed populations are predominantly found in vacant lots; the management of these lots could therefore have large impacts on allergenic pollen burdens. The main form of management in these vacant lots is mowing, which occurs at frequencies ranging from monthly mowing to no mowing. We hypothesized that annual or biennial mowing would result in conditions where ragweed populations could thrive. To test this, we conducted a vegetation survey of vacant lots in Detroit, in which we quantified the mowing regime, characteristics of the vegetation, and ragweed presence and stem density. We found that ragweed was significantly more likely to be present in lots that were mowed annually or biennially; unfortunately these are the most common management types, accounting for 51% of vacant lots in Detroit. Ragweed’s association with this disturbance regime fits with its early successional status, as it is most competitive in recently disturbed soils where there is reduced competition for resources such as light. We therefore recommend one of two alternative management regimes for reducing ragweed in vacant lots: either mow them frequently (multiple times a growing season) or do not mow them at all. Both approaches will reduce ragweed prevalence in vacant lots and reduce allergenic pollen exposure for people who live near vacant lots.

SMARTER Training School on Controlling Common Ragweed by Vegetation Management – summer 2015

Take the opportunity to learn how to investigate the efficacy of vegetation management to control common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia). The Training School takes place 27 Jul – 1 Aug 2015 in Vienna, Austria, and Munich/Freising, Germany. You will be trained by skilled researchers and visit several ongoing experiments in the middle of the ragweed season.

Objectives: The Training School is aimed at developing skills on designing, performing, analysing and evaluating mowing/cutting experiments, with and without competition, for the control of common ragweed. Learn how to measure and analyse the most relevant response variables for control efficacy, and how to quickly evaluate field experiments with respect to efficacy in harming spontaneous ragweed populations.

Participants: The Training School is targeting young scientists and professionals involved in ragweed control. Maximum number of participants: 10.

Grants: COST SMARTER offers grants to eligible participants.

Applications are accepted until 26 April 2016.  Click here for details on the program and application procedure.


SMARTER Conference & Workshop: “Invasive plants management success & regulation”

The SMARTER Conference & Workshop entitled “Invasive plants management success & regulation”  brought together participants of the SMARTER network who work on invasive species management with stakeholders and external experts.

→    Program&Outline (PDF)

The meeting took place at the COST Office on the 21-22 January 2015. The aim of the meeting was to progress the discussion on the regulation of biocontrol agents of invasive plants in Europe in general (Workshop 1) and to define success of Ambrosia management for Europe (Workshop 2). The preceding Conference formed the introduction to the workshops by sketching the current problems in management and regulation.

Stakeholders meeting ... Photo: Peter Tóth.

Regulations of classical biological control in North America: Presentation by Peter Mason, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, at the SMARTER Conference and workshop on 21 January 2015 at COST office in Brussels. Photo: Peter Tóth.

SMARTER Conference & Workshop