Evaluating Montana's Dyer's Woad (Isatis tinctoria) Cooperative Eradication Project
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2017
Eradication is often stated as an essential element of weed management. Assessing the costs and benefits of eradication programs is often difficult because doing so requires speculation about the impacts and spread of weeds if eradication measures were not undertaken. The objective of this article is to describe and assess the Montana Dyer's Woad Cooperative Project, a program aimed at eradicating dyer's woad from Montana. The Project comprises four key components: early detection, treatment technologies, repeated site visits with monitoring, and education. To evaluate the success of the Montana Dyer's Woad Cooperative Project, we used monitoring data to observe the change in the number of counties where dyer's woad is present, plotted the trend in population size over time, and evaluated change in infestation size. We also predicted population spread based on the 1999 population size and demographic characteristics of dyer's woad. Dyer's woad has been eradicated from 9 of 13 infested counties in Montana, and infestation sizes have decreased in the remaining infested counties. In some counties, a containment effort was needed in conjunction with repeated inventories and treatment applications to prevent spread while depleting the seedbank to the point where eradication is possible. If not for the Project, our analysis suggests that some dyer's woad populations might consist of millions of plants, potentially covering 39,021 ha in Montana and costing $1.9 million/yr to manage. In comparison, the Project has reduced the total area infested in Montana to 2.6 ha and cost the state only $142,000 for the past 7 yr of management. In Montana, dyer's woad eradication from individual counties has been successful because of persistence and ongoing cooperative efforts.
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