U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Published in PRAIRIE INVADERS: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 20TH NORTH AMERICAN PRAIRIE CONFERENCE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT KEARNEY, July 23–26, 2006, edited by Joseph T. Springer and Elaine C. Springer. Kearney, Nebraska : University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2006. Pages 381-386.


The challenge in effectively managing invasive species arises out of our subjective response to the problem: 1) these species do not belong in our ecosystems; and 2) their impact on our ecosystems will be negative. These visceral responses typically dove-tail into the fundamental management objective: get rid of it! Society promotes the idea that good management is timely, and the best approach is to catch an invasive species before it reaches exponential population growth and becomes widespread. Although this is a sound approach, multiple examples illustrate that it is not universally applicable. Exotic species that are intentionally introduced either for resource improvement or classical biological control purposes are now themselves targets of management programs. Negative publicity associated with adverse outcomes of invasive species management has resulted in widespread ‘management paralysis’. Risk assessment is presented here as a viable strategy to offset this trend, and can be significantly enhanced through the adoption of best management practices.