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An Assessment of Exotic Plant Species of Rocky Mountain National Park

Abstracts for Species of Concern - Final Assessment


This section contains information on all exotic plant species of concern. Information on life history characteristics, along with control methods is included for each species. In addition, references have also been included to provide other more detailed sources of information.

There are several important considerations when reviewing the Abstracts for the Exotic Plant Species of Concern. First, the abstracts represent a summary of information from a literature review. However, it is important that any decisions to manage an exotic plant species also utilize information from field surveys. For example, any attempts to eradicate an exotic plant will likely be unsuccessful if the initial disturbance that allowed the species to invade the area is still occurring in the area. In addition, attempts to control exotic species will also be unsuccessful if there are not an adequate amount of native species to colonize the area following treatment. Treatment of one exotic species may only open up new habitat for other exotic species if the area is not re-colonized by native species.

Second, many control methods have been developed for use with agriculture. The effects of these control methods on natural areas has not been well studied. As a result, any management option should be closely examined to determine their potential side effects. In some cases, the control measures may have a larger impact on the ecosystem than the impact of the exotic plant. Along these lines, special consideration should be given to any chemical or biological control options. Many chemical herbicides are not specific to the target species and could have detrimental effects on native species in the area. Similarly, some biological control agents are also non-selective to a particular species. The introduction of a biological control agent may have an impact on other related species.

Finally, in some cases, exotic plants may be useful in reducing erosion, and may provide forage and habitat for other animals. In these cases, it may be a better option to manage areas where the species seems to be expanding, but avoid managing areas where the species is well established until good management techniques are developed.


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