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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Enloe, Stephen F. [1], Brasher, Jeffrey W. [1].

Risk assessment for noxious weeds: A heuristic method and scaleable database.

Early detection - rapid response (EDRR) programs for invasive plants are becoming increasingly important for economic and ecological reasons. While policies and procedures vary among states, the common goal is to control incipient populations. Early detection is often difficult as land managers may not immediately recognize new species. Additionally, choosing the species about which to educate people may be difficult. While risk assessment methods for predicting potential invaders are improving, current methods have resulted in the development of general principles more so than specific prediction of new invaders. A lack of information on many species is a common problem for risk assessment with both time and data often being needed. This is incompatible with EDRR as successful eradication often depends on immediate response to detected new invaders with no time to wait for full-fledged risk assessment. To circumvent this problem, a heuristic “meta-analysis” method was developed for Wyoming by creating a database using western state noxious weed lists and a Wyoming checklist of alien plants. Among other things, the database can list 1) potential new invaders - species noxious in other states that are not yet present in Wyoming, and also 2) potential sleeper weeds in the lag phase of invasion - species already present in Wyoming that are noxious in other states. Each taxon is given a numeric risk ranking by adding up the number of other states designating each as noxious. Our approach, which indirectly takes input from many biological and societal variables and a broad base of stakeholders, may be appropriate for timely risk assessment while more time-consuming biological assessments are underway.
This method has prioritized EDRR educational efforts in Wyoming and the database will continue to be refined. The method and database are scalable, flexible, and portable, with potential application to other geographic areas.

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1 - University of Wyoming, Plant Sciences, Dept. 3354, Laramie, WY, 82071, USA

early detection
biological invasion.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: CP02
Location: PDR 4/Hilton
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2007
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: CP02009
Abstract ID:1779

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