Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Alien Plants Ranking System
- SYSTEM DESCRIPTION
- The system relies on a set of 23 questions (DataSheet) to be answered
for each nonnative plant known to occur in (or near) the site of concern.
The questions are organized into 3 sections. Section I, which addresses
the current level of impacts to the site, must be based upon site surveys.
Section II asks specific questions that give indications of the potential
of the species to be invasive. For many alien plants, answers to these questions
are available within the system (species FactSheets). If this information
is unknown, and not available within the system, it should be obtained through
library research. Section III poses questions that affect the feasibility
(and costs) of control.
- SYSTEM OUTPUT
- Upon completion of the DataSheets for all nonnative species found on a
site, the manager can print the following:
- Completed DataSheet for each species (Sample)
- List of all entered species sorted by level of impact, or potential
to be invasive, or feasibility of control
- Lists, such as species found to be innocuous, or species causing serious
impact, or species not currently causing impacts but having high potential
to invade and cause impacts, or some other grouping determined by the
- Graphic depiction of data showing impact, potential to be invasive,
and feasibility of control for the suite of species in the data file
- USING THE SYSTEM
- Individuals who use APRS must be able to interpret specific biological
information on each species both in the field and in the literature. It
is essential to identify species correctly in the field.
- FIVE STEPS TO APRS
- DETERMINE THE NONNATIVE SPECIES that do occur or are likely to occur
within the site of interest. Possible sources of lists include research
reports for the site or region, catalogs of specimens for regional herbaria,
species lists by county from state or county weed boards, or lists from
biological surveys or natural feature organizations. Once a list of
species is completed, local floras or Kartesz (1994) should be consulted
to see which species are nonnative.
- SURVEY THE SITE. The best survey method is to conduct quantitative
sampling stratified by vegetation type, using a geographical information
system (GIS). This not only provides the information to complete Section
I of the ranking system but allows for analysis of correlations of distribution
and abundance of nonnative species with vegetation type, roads, trails,
etc. Sufficient information can, however, be obtained by a less intensive,
systematic qualitative survey of the area. The location and extent of
nonnative species stands should be mapped.
- CONSULT THE SPECIES FACTSHEETS to see whether information to complete
Section II (Potential to be a Pest) of the DataSheet is included. Also,
consult the FactSheets to obtain information to complete portions of
Section III (Feasibility of Control). If a FactSheet for the species
is not available, a literature search should be made to gather the needed
information for completing Section II and Section III. Keyword searches
using the common and scientific names of the species are suggested.
- CREATE DATASHEETS for all of the nonnative species found within or
adjacent to the site. After completing this step, save as a data file
for your site. All of the products listed above can then be generated
for the site. Questions that cannot be answered are marked "unknown"
in the DataSheet. In the Graphs module, you can visualize how important
the answers to unknown questions are in the overall ranking of each
species by using the "maximum-minimum" function, which plots the range
of possible values for the unknowns.
- STUDY THE INFORMATION AND GRAPHS GENERATED and apply them towards
the development of a management plan for the site and surrounding area.
Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States,
Canada, and Greenland, 2nd Ed. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
- INVASIVE PLANTS BIBLIOGRAPHY
- The Invasive Plants Bibliography is a selected bibliography on species
of invasive plants in the upper midwestern United States. These references
were used to gather data on botanical characters of alien species in national
parks of the region. Data were classified and compiled into data files for
use in the Alien Plants Ranking System program. The bibliography focuses
on sources containing botanical data, not data on control or management
of species, and is not intended to be broad. References consist of books,
monographs, and original journal articles. The bibliography is being maintained
and added to periodically. The version available here will be updated regularly.
Persons familiar with additional references meeting the above criteria
are asked to forward them to Jim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- APRS IMPLEMENTATION TEAM
- Ronald D. Hiebert, National Park Service (system development)
- Diane L. Larson, US Geological Survey (team coordinator, field surveys
- James P. Bennett, US Geological Survey (botanical characters research)
- David W. Lime, University of Minnesota (consultant)
- Anthony M. Starfield, Univ. of Minnesota (consultant)
- Jerrilyn L. Thompson, Univ. of Minnesota (customer feedback, fact sheet
- Diane L. Beres, University of Minnesota (consultant)
- Karl A. Beres, Ripon College (system automation)
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