National Management Plan: An Action Plan for the Nation - Research

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[Executive Summary] | [Introduction] | [Survey of Federal Roles & Responsibilities] | [An Action Plan for the Nation] | [Conclusion] | [Appendices]

Action Plan:
Leadership | Prevention | Detection | Control | Restoration |
International | Research | Info Management | Education

Research supports each aspect of the Plan. Research assists policy makers in assessing gaps in authority and program policy, and it supports invasive species resource optimization, prioritization, and public outreach efforts. Additionally, research increases the effectiveness of a wide range of invasive species efforts carried out by Federal, State, local and tribal governments and the private sector. Although progress continues, research challenges also expand as new invasive species issues come to light. The growing demand for research is also increasing the need for trained personnel, such as taxonomists who can help identify species.

Complementary research projects ranging from basic investigations with broad application to highly targeted applied efforts are required. Basic research needs include: gaining a more thorough understanding of invasive processes and factors that affect those processes; an improved ability to assess the risk of a non-native species becoming invasive; development of a more comprehensive understanding of the consequences of invasions on ecological, agricultural, economic, animal health, human health, and social systems; and improving the ability to predict new or expanding pathways of invasion. More applied research needs include: developing and testing enhanced environmentally sound invasive species control and restoration methods; developing better methods and technologies for managing invasion pathways such as ballast water and horticultural materials; improving the ability to assess and monitor invasive population parameters on appropriate spatial and temporal scales; and developing enhanced means to collect and more fully utilize data obtained and improve research support for cooperative efforts. Where appropriate, Federal research outcomes will be transferred to Federal, State, local, tribal and private sector stakeholders for their utilization.

The CENR of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) identified invasive species research as a priority focus area within integrated ecosystems research. CENR indicated that while the scientific capacity to address many research needs exists, core research programs are substantially under-funded. Adequately funding Federal, State, and academic research is critical. CENR stresses the importance of sustaining long-term research focused upon priorities identified by Federal, State, local, tribal government and private sector stakeholders. Additionally, the need to strengthen core research efforts was emphasized to build a thorough understanding of invasion biology and an enhanced capacity to predict invasiveness. CENR indicated the need for research coordination and cooperation among Federal agencies and for increased standardization to facilitate data management and utilization.

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Actions Planned

  1. By July 2001, the Council, in coordination with FICMNEW, SI, the ANSTF, and CENR, will prepare a catalog of existing aquatic and terrestrial control methods (e.g., by taxon and ecoregion) and propose strategies to determine their effectiveness in different U.S. habitats, including recommended cost and effectiveness monitoring protocols for use by field personnel. The catalog should include the following:

a. Validation methods to measure and report removal efficiency, cost-effectiveness, safety, and practicality under real-world conditions.

b. Treatments and effectiveness measurement protocols.

c. Adaptive management measures for field personnel that base predictive models for invasiveness and priority setting on clearly delineated factors that may affect invasiveness, such as biological and ecological factors.

  1. By December 2001, the Council co-chair agencies, in cooperation with the NSF and the SI, will develop and implement a plan to:

a. Strengthen international research collaborations to study the biological, social, and economic aspects of invasive species ecology and management, as well as develop and test monitoring and control technologies and strategies.

b. Identify and strengthen opportunities to exchange scientists between the United States and other countries to improve their training in technologies and techniques (especially taxonomic identification) concerning invasive species.

  1. By July 2002, the Council, SI, and NSF, utilizing input from CENR, will establish and coordinate a long- and short-term research capacity ranging from basic to applied research on invasive species. This initiative will build on existing efforts that reflect a range of perspectives and program approaches. It will address research, monitoring, information sharing (including mapping), assessment, control, and restoration. It will identify personnel and resources needed to sustain fundamental research and tactical or field-level scientific support which include:

a. Improvement of Federal agency core research capabilities.

b. Enhancement of current competitive grants programs and mechanisms for cooperative support of research by public and private universities, Federal and State governments, and the private sector to complement core research capabilities.

  1. As part of the cross-cut budget proposal for FY 2003, the Council will include an initiative to adequately fund Federal invasive species research programs. The Council (including research agencies within Council departments) will prepare the initiative in consultation with the ISAC, SI, NSF, CENR, and other stakeholders. The proposal will address research issues such as:

a. The ability of a species to be invasive in a region is an important predictor of whether that species will become invasive in other regions/countries that contain similar habitats. Investigations will be conducted in source and receiving countries to determine parameters, such as biological, economic, cultural, and ecological factors, that may affect their susceptibility to new invasions.

b. Investigate "lag period" invasive processes that occur between initial introduction, establishment, and invasion outbreaks and assess the value of using epidemiological approaches to support monitoring, control, restoration, and eradication efforts. Additionally, enhance the ability to rapidly identify effective environmentally sound control methods for targets of rapid response efforts that are conducted at critical points in the invasive process.

c. Determine how and to what extent invasive species affect populations of native species, endangered and threatened species, habitats, animal health, human health, and native species biodiversity.

d. Determine how and to what extent invasive species alter ecosystem (e.g., water quality, hydrology, nutrient cycling, and disturbance regimes such as fire cycles), agricultural, economic, and social processes.

e. Develop and test monitoring and control protocols, methods, tools, and strategies to support the prevention of introduction and spread, rapid response, restoration and containment strategies, including the evaluation of impacts from management activities.

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