The Runaway Weed: Costs and Failures of Phragmites australis Management in the USA
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.
KeywordsInvasive species Management Phragmites australis Restoration Economic survey
- Acharya, C. 2009. Forest invasive plant management: understanding and explaining management effects. Masters thesis. Ithaca: Cornell University.Google Scholar
- Agresti, A. 1984. Analysis of ordinal categorical data. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Burnham, K.P., and D.R. Anderson. 2002. Model selection and multimodel inference: A practical information-theoretic approach. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 2010. Invasive alien species. http://www.cbd.int/invasive/ (accessed 10 November 2010).
- Dillman, D.A. 2007. Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design, second edition—2007 update. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Fell, P.E., S.P. Weissbach, D.A. Jones, M.A. Fallon, J.A. Zeppieri, E.K. Faison, K.A. Lennon, K.J. Newberry, and L.K. Reddington. 1998. Does invasion of oligohaline tidal marshes by reed grass, Phragmites australis (Cav) Trin ex Steud, affect the availability of prey resources for the mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus L? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 222: 59–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Global Invasive Species Program (GISP). 2010. http://www.icsu-scope.org/projects/complete/gisp.htm (accessed 8 November 2010).
- Hayes, T.B., A. Collins, M. Lee, M. Mendoza, N. Noriega, A.A. Stuart, and A. Vonk. 2002. Hermaphroditic, demasculinized frogs after exposure to the herbicide atrazine at low ecologically relevant doses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99: 5476–5480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Maerz, J., J. Cohen, and B. Blossey. 2010. Does detritus quality predict the effect of native and non-native plants on the performance of larval amphibians? Freshwater Biology 55: 1694–1704.Google Scholar
- Marks, M., B. Lapin, and J. Randall. 1994. Phragmites australis (P. communis)—Threats, management, and monitoring. Natural Areas Journal 14: 285–294.Google Scholar
- Matarczyk, J.A., A.J. Willis, J.A. Vranjic, and J.E. Ash. 2002. Herbicides, weeds and endangered species: Management of bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp rotundata) with glyphosate and impacts on the endangered shrub, Pimelea spicata. Biological Conservation 108: 133–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mooney, H., and R. Hobbs. 2000. Invasive species in a changing world. Washington, D.C.: Island.Google Scholar
- Saltonstall, K., P.M. Peterson, and R.J. Soreng. 2004. Recognition of Phragmites australis subsp. americanus (Poaceae: Arundinoideae) in North America: Evidence from morphological and genetic analyses. Sida Contributions to Botany 21: 683–692.Google Scholar
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), US Department of Labor. 2010. Occupational outlook handbook, 2010–11 Edition, Conservation scientists and foresters. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos048.htm (accessed 11 January 2010).
- US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2010. Plants database: Phragmites australis. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PHAU7 (accessed 2 January 2010).
- US Government Accountability Office. 2005. Invasive species: Cooperation and coordination are important for effective management of invasive weeds. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05185.pdf (accessed 10 February 2010).
- US National Invasive Species Council (NISC). 2006. Fiscal year 2006 interagency invasive species performance-based crosscut budget. http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/docs/council/FY06budget.pdf (accessed 1 October 2009).
- US Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). 1993. Harmful non-indigenous species in the United States, OTA-F-565. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- Warren, R.S., P.E. Fell, J.L. Grimsby, E.L. Buck, G.C. Rilling, and R.A. Fertik. 2001. Rates, patterns, and impacts of Phragmites australis expansion and effects of experimental Phragmites control on vegetation, macroinvertebrates, and fish within tidelands of the lower Connecticut River. Estuaries 24: 90–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar