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Toward ecologically-based invasive plant management on rangeland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Roger L. Sheley
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, 67826-A Hwy 205, Burns, OR 97720
Tony J. Svejcar
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, 67826-A Hwy 205, Burns, OR 97720


Land managers typically use herbicides, biological controls, fire, grazing, and revegetation to manage and restore rangeland dominated by invasive plants. Without careful planning and implementation, these tools may temporarily control the weeds but may ultimately have minimal influence on ecological processes, fail over the long term, and lead to weed reinvasion. This can result from the lack of a broad ecological perspective. Successional management provides a process-based framework for weed ecologists to develop and test integrated weed management strategies and for land managers to organize implementation of these strategies in a way that adequately addresses ecological processes. This framework offers land managers practical methods for modifying ecological processes to direct plant community composition away from invasive species and toward desired plant assemblages. To date, successional management has not gained widespread application because, in part, it has not been conceptually linked to other successional models. Therefore, we illustrate how other successional models can be incorporated within the framework. Incorporating other prevailing successional models will further elucidate ecological processes, offer additional management strategies, and widen the possibilities for ecologically based management of rangeland weeds. Approaching management of weed-infested rangeland through this process-based framework will enable managers to implement strategies that maximize the likelihood of success because these methods will be integrated based on ecological principles. Successional management should be adjusted as we gain a better understanding of the factors that drive succession.

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Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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