Ecosystem Services - The Significance of Contributions by Invasive Plant Species
Stephen Young, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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About the webinar:
to natural systems by invasive plant species was the topic of a
one day symposium at the annual meetings of the Soil and Water
Conservation Society. Experts in biological systems, ecological
technologies and policy development spoke to a large audience of
and practitioners. The list of speakers included representatives from
the country, including California, New York, Michigan, Washington, D.C.
The goal of the symposium was to
gain an understanding of the contribution that invasive plant species are
making to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. While invasive species continue
to threaten many natural and man-made environments and most efforts are
in their control or removal, they do provide services to these ecosystems,
which have yet to be quantified on a range of scales. The invited speakers
addressed several topics, including 1) the current state of invasive plant
species, 2) ecosystem services related to invasive plant species, 3) research
for quantifying ecosystem services by invasive plant species, 4) mapping
invasive plant species in relation to ecosystem services and 5) policy
related to ecosystem services and invasive plant species.
Invasive plant species can establish
in diverse environments and, with the increase in human mobility, they
are no longer restricted to isolated pockets in remote parts of the world.
Cheatgrass in rangelands, purple loosestrife in wetlands, and saltcedar
in riparian areas are examples of invasive plant species that are common
to the United States and can be found in monocultures and patches covering
many thousands of hectares. Across the world, invasive plant species like
water hyacinth, cogon grass, and mile-a-minute weed have choked waterways,
altered fire regimes, or caused the abandonment of farmland due to their
dominating and persistent characteristics.
for managing invasive plant
species could be the eradication, reduction or containment of a
population.The methods available for obtaining management goals include
chemical, cultural and biological. Under the concept of ecosystem
valuation, a whole new approach may be warranted to help expand current
efforts to effectively manage invasive plant species.About the Speaker:
is a Weed Ecologist at the University of Nebraska Western Research
& Extension Center in North Platte. The focus of his research and
program is invasive species in riparian areas and weed management in
cropping systems. His background includes facilitating federally funded
research on biofuel production, leading state funded research on
vegetationcontrol in rights-of-way, and providing technical support for
field research and development on pesticide products for registration.
Before taking his current position,
Dr. Young conducted research at Washington State University Center for
Precision Agricultural Systems and the University of California, Davis
in irrigated and rainfed crop and non-crop systems. While in California,
he also managed two large-scale research demonstration projects on pre-
and post-plant weed control techniques for establishing native perennial
grasses in rights-of-way.
As part of his extension program
at UNL, Steve has developed a new program on the ecology and management
of invasive plant species, which will help educate and inform land owners,
managers, policy makers and graduate students working on invasive plants
in North America (see the website ipscourse.unl.edu
for more information).
His research program recently received funding to 1) investigate the competitive
interactions between invasive plants and an established perennial grass
community and 2) determine how geospatial technologies can be used to predict
the spread and distribution of the non-native Phragmites australis. Dr.
Young is also working with a group of researchers on developing a real-timesensor for identifying invasive plants in the field.
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