Tuesday, September 27, 2011

To Be or Not To Be Invasive

Bob Flasher, who has spent 20 years working in National Parks, was recently interviewed by Invasive Plant News. Basically the article addresses the many misconceptions about what constitutes an Invasive Plant. So I offer here a couple of definitions which are just part of a complicated issue.
  • Weed: A plant, regardless of nativity, which is growing somewhere we don't want it to grow. We often use the word weed to describe plants which invade agricultural fields or our landscaping.
  • Invasive plant: To be considered invasive a plant must meet three criteria.
    1. It is non-native to the ecosystem where it is growing.
    2. It is able to not only escape cultivation but continues to expand it range.
    3. It's presence and population growth causes, or has the potential to cause harm to people, native plants, animals, and ecosystems.
Bob makes many good points in the article. It is a complicated issue with many opinions on the best way to tackle the problem. One thing that most people agree on is the need for Early Detection of new invasive plants. The old saying 'a stitch in time saves nine' is definitely appropriate for this situation.
Read the article.
If you would like to help tackle the problem of invasive species in your area or just learn more about that problem, contact the invasive species working group in your area.  You can report invasive plants in your area to EDDMapS (Early Detection & Distribution MAPping System). The Tools and Training page in EDDMapS has step-by-step instructions for creating an account and entering invasive plant sitings.