The Runaway Weed: Costs and Failures of Phragmites australis Management in the USA
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- Martin, L.J. & Blossey, B. Estuaries and Coasts (2013) 36: 626. doi:10.1007/s12237-013-9593-4
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While public funding of invasive species management has increased substantially in the past decade, there have been few cross-institutional assessments of management programs. We assessed management of Phragmites australis, a problematic invader of coastal habitats, through a cross-institutional economic survey of 285 land managers from US public and private conservation organizations. We found that from 2005 to 2009, these organizations spent >$4.6 million per year on P. australis management, and that 94 % used herbicide to treat a total area of ∼80,000 ha. Despite these high expenditures, few organizations accomplished their management objectives. There was no relationship between resources invested in management and management success, and those organizations that endorsed a particular objective were no more likely to achieve it. Our results question the efficacy of current P. australis management strategies and call for future monitoring of biological management outcomes.