Managing widespread, Alien plant species to ensure biodiversity conservation: A case study using an 11-step planning process

P.O. Downey

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16 Citations (Scopus)


One of the greatest threats to biodiversity is the invasion of ecological communities by alien plants. Management strategies for alien plants, however, rarely focus on specific biodiversity-conservation outcomes, and recovery actions rarely address the threat on a landscape scale. There are many reasons for these failures, including (1) limited knowledge of the native species at risk, (2) a disconnect between policy and management, (3) a disconnect between the fields of weed science and biodiversity conservation, (4) a dearth of data from management actions (for both threat abatement and recovery), and (5) the broadly held assumption that control of alien plants will by itself lead to a positive biodiversity response is often incorrect. Thus, alien plant management strategies with a conservation aim need to include planning processes and assessment measures to ensure that the aim is achieved. Here, I outline an example of the planning steps needed to ensure that the management of widespread alien plant species achieves the greatest possible conservation outcome, using the alien plant program for bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifena) as a case study. In addition, I present an overview of the challenges faced and solutions developed during the transition from planning to management, along with some initial data to demonstrate the success and value of this investment in both planning and implementation during the past decade. Interim results from a series of sites have highlighted the success of the program and led to the program being acknowledged as an important ecological restoration project in Australasia. This success is highly dependent on extensive stakeholder involvement (across land tenures), dedicated coordination, and leadership. The planning process is now being adopted for other alien plants in Australia and can be modified to abate the threat from other alien organisms or other threats to biodiversity because the principles of each step are fundamentally similar. Nomenclature: Bitou bush, Chrysanthemoides monilifera (L.) T. Norl. ssp. rotundata (DC.) T. Norl © 2010 Weed Science Society of America.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)451-461
Number of pages11
JournalInvasive Plant Science and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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