Advertisement

Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 507–527 | Cite as

Controlling an invasive plant at the edge of its range: towards a broader understanding of management feasibility

  • Zdravka Tzankova
  • Amy Concilio
Original Paper

Abstract

Invasion biologists often think about feasibility of weed control in purely ecological terms, while land managers’ feasibility definitions are further informed by social, policy, and institutional considerations. We use the case of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada in California to examine the origins and practical significance of differences between scientific and managerial definitions of feasibility. A serious invasive weed and a major ecological threat to the region, cheatgrass in the Eastern Sierra still exists in the kinds of low-density patches that are technically amenable to containment through active management. Yet land managers in this region dominated by public land are not using active management. We conducted a study of the reasons for the apparent disconnect between management potential and management realities, combining semi-structured interviews of public land managers in the region with analysis of the policy and institutional landscape in which land managers operate. We found that managers are concerned about cheatgrass impacts on the region but face a number of barriers to the deployment of useful spread prevention techniques. The de-prioritization of cheatgrass, which is not listed as a noxious weed under either California or federal law, along with resource constraints exacerbated by such policy de-prioritization form one important set of barriers. Certain substantive and procedural requirements of federal and state environmental law form another barrier: they can limit swiftness and flexibility of managerial action and make managers more hesitant to launch such action; they also provide a venue for public opposition to herbicide-based management or directly restrict managers’ access to useful herbicide treatments. We end with some thoughts on increasing the feasibility of cheatgrass control in eastern California. Many of these are broadly relevant to improving invasion management on public lands.

Keywords

Bromus tectorum California Cheatgrass Invasive species management Public lands Non-noxious weed 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are really grateful to land managers in the Eastern Sierra Nevada for taking time to discuss their work and challenges with us. We thank Adriana Sulak and Lynn Huntsinger for feedback on interview questions and suggestions for contacting public lands users and managers. Sarah Carvill and Doug Johnson provided valuable feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Dan Dawson and staff at the Eastern Sierra Valentine Reserve provided logistical support. We thank three anonymous reviewers for their constructive and insightful feedback, which greatly helped us to improve this manuscript. This study was reviewed and approved by the UCSC Institutional Review Board (Human Subjects Protocol #1411).

Supplementary material

10530_2014_747_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (54 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 54 kb)
10530_2014_747_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (75 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 74 kb)

References

  1. Agricultural Commissioner’s Office (2008, 2009, 2010, & 2011) Noxious weed control and eradication activities on lands in Inyo and Mono Counties. Annual Report. Inyo and Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. Bishop, CAGoogle Scholar
  2. Agricultural Commissioner’s Office (2012) Inyo and mono counties agricultural department. http://www.inyomonoagriculture.com/ Accessed 3 March 2012
  3. Anderson GL, Delfosse ES, Spencer NR et al (2003) Lessons in developing successful invasive weed control programs. J Range Manage 56:2–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. APHIS (2009) Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program. United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/weeds/downloads/weed_action_plan.pdf. Accessed 3 Sept 2013
  5. Aslan CE, Hufford MB, Epanchin-Niell RS, Port JD, Sexton JP, Waring TM (2009) Practical challenges in private stewardship of rangeland ecosystems: yellow starthistle control in Sierra Nevadan foothills. Rangel Ecol Manag 62:28–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baker WL (2011) Pre-Euro-American and recent fire in sagebrush ecosystems. In: Knick ST, Connelly JW (eds) Greater sage-grouse: ecology and conservation of a landscape species and its habitats. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, pp 185–201Google Scholar
  7. Brooks ML, D’Antonio CM, Richardson DM et al (2004) Effects of invasive alien plants on fire regimes. Bioscience 54:677–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buckman TE (1937) Setting up Taylor Grazing Districts in Nevada. Agricultural Extension Service, University of Nevada. Reno, Nevada. Bull 77Google Scholar
  9. Butler KF, Koontz TM (2005) Theory into practice: implementing ecosystem management objectives in the USDA Forest Service. Environ Manage 35:138–150PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (2006) Comments regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on vegetation treatments using herbicides in 17 western statesGoogle Scholar
  11. Carruthers R (2003) Invasive species research in the United States Department of Agiculture—Agricultural Research Service. Pest Manag Sci 59:827–834PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CDFA (2012) Encycloweedia. 2010 Pest ratings. California Department of Food and Agriculture. http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/ipc/weedinfo/winfo_list-pestrating.htm. Accessed 1 March 2012
  13. CDFA & CALIWAC (2005) California noxious and invasive weed action plan. California Department of Food and Agriculture, SacramentoGoogle Scholar
  14. Clarke JN, McCool D (1996) Staking out the terrain: power and performance among natural resource agencies. State University of New York Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
  15. Concilio A (2013) Effectiveness and cost of downy brome (Bromus tectorum) control at high elevation. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 6:502–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Concilio AL, Loik ME (2013) Elevated nitrogen effects on Bromus tectorum dominance and native plant diversity in an arid, montane ecosystem. Appl Veg Sci 16:598–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Concilio AL, Loik ME, Belnap J (2013) Global change effects on Bromus tectorum L. (Poaceae) at its high-elevation range margin. Glob Chang Biol 19:161–172PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. D’Antonio CM, Thomsen M (2004) Ecological resistance in theory and practice. Weed Technol 18:1572–1577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. D’Antonio CM, Vitousek PM (1992) Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle, and global change. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 23:63–87Google Scholar
  20. Darin GS (2008) Prioritizing weed populations for eradication at a regional level: The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s A-rated weeds. M.S. Thesis, University of California, DavisGoogle Scholar
  21. Desser R (2007) Summary of the National Environmental Policy Act approach for early detection/rapid response to invasive plants on the Olympic National Forest. USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station GTR. 23–24Google Scholar
  22. Diamond JM, Call CA, Devoe N (2009) Effects of targeted cattle grazing on fire behavior of cheatgrass-dominated rangeland in the northern Great Basin, USA. Int J Wild Fire 18:944–950CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. DiTomaso JM (2000) Invasive weeds in rangelands: species, impacts, and management. Weed Sci 48:255–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Doremus H (2001) Adaptive management, the Endangered Species Act, and the institutional challenges of new age environmental protection, 41 Washington L.J. 50Google Scholar
  25. DPR (2011) A Guide to Pesticide Regulation in California. Department of Pesticide Regulations, California Environmental Protection Agency. Sacramento, CA, p 160Google Scholar
  26. ELI (2002) Halting the invasion: state tools for invasive species management. Environmental Law Institute, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  27. ELI (2010) Status and trends in state invasive species policy: 2002–2009. Environmental Law Institute, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  28. Epanchin-Niell RS, Hufford MB, Aslan CE et al (2010) Controlling invasive species in complex social landscapes. Front Ecol Environ 8:210–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ESWMA (2012) Eastern Sierra Weed Management Area. Inyo and Mono Counties Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. http://www.inyomonoagriculture.com/eastern-sierra-weed-management-area.html Accessed 1 March 2012
  30. Gorte RW, Vincent CH, Hanson LA et al (2012) Federal land ownership: overview and data. Congressional Research Service. R42346Google Scholar
  31. Grice AC, Clarkson JR, Calvert M (2011) Geographic differentiation of management objectives for invasive species: a case study of Hymenachne amplexicaulis in Australia. Environ Sci Policy 14:986–997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grumbine RE (1997) What is ecosystem management? Conserv Biol 11:41–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. [GAO] United States Government Accountability Office (2005) Invasive Species. Cooperation and Coordination are Important for Effective Management of Invasive Weeds. Report to the Chairman, Committee on Resources, House of Representatives. GAO-05-185Google Scholar
  34. Hobbs RJ, Humphries SE (1995) An integrated approach to the ecology and management of plant invasions. Conserv Biol 9:761–770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Huang QQ, Qian C, Wang Y et al (2010) Determinants of the geographical extent of invasive plants in China: effects of biogeographical origin, life cycle and time since introduction. Biodivers Conserv 19:1251–1259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Januchowski-Hartley SR, Visconti P, Pressey RL (2011) A systematic approach for prioritizing multiple management actions for invasive species. Biol Invasions 13:1241–1253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Johnson D (2011) Policy update: cuts and more cuts. Cal-IPC News 19(1):15Google Scholar
  38. Johnston DB (2011) Movement of weed seeds in reclamation areas. Rest Ecol 19:446–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Karst T (2012) Pest protection to suffer with budget deficit. The Grower 16Google Scholar
  40. Kelley WK, Fernandez-Gimenez ME, Brown CS (2013) Managing downy brome (Bromus tectorum) in the Central Rockies: land manager perspectives. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 6:521–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Knapp PA (1996) Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L) dominance in the Great Basin Desert—history, persistence, and influences to human activities. Glob Environ Change 6:37–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Knick ST (1999) Requiem for a sagebrush ecosystem? Northwest Sci 73:53–57Google Scholar
  43. Knick S, Connelly JW (2011) Greater sage-grouse and sagebrush: an introduction to the landscape. In: Knick ST, Connelly JW (eds) Greater sage-grouse: ecology and conservation of a landscape species and its habitats. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, pp 1–12Google Scholar
  44. Koontz TM, Bodine J (2008) Implementing ecosystem management in public agencies: lessons from the US Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. Conserv Biol 22:60–69PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. LADWP (2012a) The story of the Los Angeles aqueduct: a shared resource. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. http://wsoweb.ladwp.com/Aqueduct/historyoflaa/ Accessed 8 May 2012
  46. LADWP (2012b) Lower owens river project annual report. Los Angeles Department of Water and PowerGoogle Scholar
  47. Link SO, Keeler CW, Hill RW et al (2006) Bromus tectorum cover mapping and fire risk. Int J Wild Fire 15:113–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lodge DM, Williams S, MacIsaac HJ et al (2006) Biological invasions: recommendations for US policy and management. Ecol Appl 16:2035–2054PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mack RN (1981) Invasion of Bromus-tectorum L into western North-America—an ecological chronicle. Agro-Ecosyst 7:145–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mack RN, Lonsdale WM (2002) Eradicating invasive plants: hard-won lessons for islands. In: Veitch D, Clout M (eds) Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, Switzerland/Cambridge, pp 164–172Google Scholar
  51. Marchante E, Kjoller A, Struwe S et al (2008) Short- and long-term impacts of Acacia longifolia invasion on the belowground processes of a Mediterranean coastal dune ecosystem. Appl Soil Ecol 40:210–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McDougall KL, Khuroo AA, Loope LL et al (2011) Plant invasions in mountains: global lessons for better management. Mt Res Dev 31:380–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Miller ML (2004) The paradox of U.S. alien species law. In: Miller ML, Fabian RN (eds) Harmful invasive species: legal responses. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, pp 125–184Google Scholar
  54. Moody ME, Mack RN (1988) Controlling the spread of plant invasions—the importance of nascent foci. J Appl Ecol 25:1009–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. National Invasive Species Council (2005) Guidelines for ranking invasive species control projects. Version 1Google Scholar
  56. Norgaard KM (2007) The politics of invasive weed management: gender, race, and risk perception in rural California. Rural Soc 72:450–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. O’Malley M (2014) Recognizing illnesses related to forestry pesticides. California Department of Pesticide Regulations. http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/specproj/tribal/tox_exp2002.pdf. Accessed 23 March 2014
  58. PAN (2014) California regulatory information. Pesticide action network. http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Docs/ref_regulatoryCA.html#CAReg. Accessed 16 March 2014
  59. Pellant M (1996) Cheatgrass: the invader that won the west. Bureau of Land Management. Idaho State Office, Boise, IdahoGoogle Scholar
  60. Pellant M, Abby B, Karl S (2004) Restoring the Great Basin desert, USA: integrating science, management, and people. Environ Monit Assess 99:169–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rejmanek M, Pitcairn J (2002) When is eradication of exotic pest plants a realistic goal?. In: Veitch D, Clout M (eds) Turning the Tide: the Eradication of Invasive Species IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, Switzerland/Cambridge, pp 249–253Google Scholar
  62. Ruhl JB (2005) Regulation by adaptive management—is it possible? 7 Minn J L Sci Tech 21Google Scholar
  63. Ruhl JB (2008) Adaptive management for natural resources—inevitable, impossible, or both? Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute Proceedings, 54(11)Google Scholar
  64. Shindler B, Gordon R, Brunson MW et al (2011) Public perception of sagebrush ecosystem management in the Great Basin. Range Ecol Manag 64:335–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Simberloff D (2009) We can eliminate invasions or live with them. Successful management projects. Biol Invasions 11:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Speckman S (2008) Cheatgrass adds fuel to fire, Utah official says. Deseret NewsGoogle Scholar
  67. Steelman T (2010) Implementing innovation: fostering enduring change in environmental and natural resource governance. Georgetown University Press, WashigtonGoogle Scholar
  68. Tempel D et al (2004) The status and management of exotic and invasive species in national wildlife refuge wilderness areas. Nat Areas J 24:300–306Google Scholar
  69. Thomas C (2003) Bureaucratic landscapes: interagency cooperation and the preservation of biodiversity. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  70. USDA (2014) Federal noxious weeds. United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database. http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxious. Accessed 20 March 2014
  71. USDA Forest Service (2009) Environmental assessment for crowley lake watershed grazing allotment assessment. US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. Inyo National Forest, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  72. USDA Forest Service (2011) Environmental assessment for the mono basin grazing analysis. US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. Inyo National Forest, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  73. USDA Forest Service (2013) Final environmental impact statement. record of decision. Casa Diablo iV Geothermal Development Project. US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. Inyo National Forest, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  74. USDI-BLM (2000) The great basin: healing the land. USDI Bureau of Land ManagementGoogle Scholar
  75. USDI-BLM (2007) Final programmatic environmental impact statement- vegetation treatments using herbicides on bureau of land management land in 17 western states. US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  76. USDI-BLM (2010) Environmental assessment crowley communities fuels reduction project. central california district. Bishop Field Office. BLM EA# DOI-BLM-CAC-070-2010-0038Google Scholar
  77. USDI-BLM (2012) Grazing. USDI Bureau of land management. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bishop/range0.html. Accessed 11 April 2012
  78. Vollmer JL, Vollmer JG (2008) Controlling cheatgrass in winter range to restore habitat and endemic fire. In: Kitchen SG, Pendelton RL, Monaco TA, Vernon J (eds) Proceedings- shrublands under fire: disturbance and recovery in a changing world. 2006 June 6–8, Cedar City UT, Proc RMRS-P-52, Fort Collins, CO, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, pp 57–60Google Scholar
  79. Yaffee SL (1996) Ecosystem management in practice: the importance of human institutions. Ecol Appl 6:724–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental StudiesUniversity of California, Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Arctic and Alpine ResearchUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations