Invasive Plant Ecology and Management
Invasive plants are one of the greatest threats to rangeland. In fact, rangelands have been identified as being among the global ecosystems that are most affected by weeds. Although ecological impacts of invasive plants on rangelands are complex and poorly understood, it is generally assumed that they alter the structure, organization, and function of rangeland plant communities. They are a primary threat to biodiversity and may displace native plants and associated wildlife. Economic costs associated with invasive plants on rangeland in the U.S. are higher than costs associated with all other pests combined. Carrying capacity for domestic livestock and wildlife is greatly reduced when unpalatable invasive plants invade. Billions of dollars are spent annually in the U.S. controlling invasive plants. Because rangeland is typically of lower value compared to crop land or land slated for development, invasive plant control may not provide a very high return for the investment and therefore may not be carried out in a consistent and effective manner.
Containing existing populations, restoring rangeland severely degraded by invasive plants, and preventing the establishment of invasive plants in non-infested rangeland is critical to the ecological and economic integrity of western rangelands. Improving rangelands that are currently impacted by invasive pants and maintaining the health of rangelands that are currently “weed-free” is an overarching goal of our lab.
See links above left (or click here: Extension Projects, Research Projects, MT Noxious Weeds) to learn more about our Extension and research projects and general information about Montana's noxious weeds.