Author: Brianne Blackburn
Abstract: The control of invasive, non-native plants is of increasing concern in ecosystem management as invasive plant species are found to be threatening natural resources through the disruption of biodiversity, habitat structure, and ecosystem processes across the world. State Government leadership in invasive plant management policy is required to ensure efforts are coordinated and cost effective. As resources for managing invasive plants are limited, the need to evaluate and rank non-native species is a primary concern before expensive management is attempted so that the most threatening species may be addressed first. An objective, repeatable and clearly defined methodology for prioritizing invasive plant management within Department of Natural Resources, Division of Agriculture (DOA) was developed. The development process reviewed literature on the philosophy of decision analysis and various case studies in its application to natural resource projects and act as a guide for the development of an initial process framework. Subject matter experts were engaged to develop the decision criteria using a Delphi survey technique to collect information on experts’ current priorities and tolerances for invasive plants. The final product includes a process diagram, a summary worksheet, and a detailed record of the evaluation decision, rationale, and supporting resources.