About Invasive Plant Management

Invasive species management projects are usually complex and long-term. Effective programme prioritisation, design, and implementation are essential to assist managers to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of a project.  However, accurate information and best practice methodology is often lacking.
Decisions on the management approach (site-led or species-led), suitable treatment methods and the timing of treatments are often complicated.  Some of the matters to consider when managing any invasive plant include:
  • The timing of treatment (wet / dry season effects on plant growth and access to the site)
  • Suitable treatment methods (must be the least harmful to the environment)
  • Follow-up treatment method
  • Residual or non-target effects of any herbicide
  • A field visit from an expert advisor may be required.
Managers of invasive plant projects have the option of using an adaptive management approach.  Adaptive management is simply “learning by doing”.  It has also been defined as “integrating a scientific approach to management and improving it repeatedly through regular evaluation of outcomes”. 
Adaptive management is especially useful when there is substantial uncertainty about aspects of the project, for example, the effectiveness of treatment methods or the success of natural regeneration following invasive plant management.  Adaptive management allows project team members to work collaboratively and contribute to the decision-making process; planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating each stage of the project.  It is a process of carrying out management programme actions, undertaking regular observation and evaluation, learning from the results of the action, and adapting or modifying further actions to achieve the best result for the project, the environment and the community.

Adaptive management 1   Adaptive management 2
Collecting information prior to applying treatments to African tulip tree (AFT – Spathodea campanulata) in Fiji.
(Photo: Bill Nagle)
  Applying a targeted herbicide treatment to kerosene tree (FAM – Falcataria moluccana) with precision equipment.
(Photo: Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, Government of Samoa)