The seeds of invasive plants can be spread when hikers fail to clean their boots between visits to different areas.
The Nature Conservancy has discovered that invasive species are one of the top sources of stress across all priority conservation areas. Conservation success will depend greatly on preventing new invasions and managing invaded systems effectively. Building on years of experience in invasive species management, the Conservancy has created the Invasive Species Initiative to address this urgent and pervasive threat.
The Invasive Species Initiative works with a network of private and public partners worldwide to pursue the following tactics as part of a comprehensive strategy:
- Prevention: This strategy offers the greatest benefit for the least cost. The Conservancy is supporting enhanced port inspections and voluntary efforts to eliminate intentional introductions of non-native, invasive species.
- Early Detection/Rapid Response: Mimicking initiatives like the one under way in Chicago, where hundreds of local residents have been trained and have volunteered their time to check trees for signs of invasive Asian long-horned beetles
- Restoration: Working with hundreds of local organizations at thousands of sites throughout the Americas, Asia and the Pacific to remove and prevent the spread of invasive species.
- Research: Working with leading academic institutions, like the University of California and the University of Florida, to develop new research to improve the management and control of invasives.
- Outreach: Working with government agencies and international organizations to develop policies for invasive species awareness, management and prevention.
Putting our Strategy Into Action
This comprehensive strategy is woven through the Initiative's work, both within the Conservancy and with external partners, as we strive towards the ultimate goal of preventing and abating invasive species threats to biological diversity. We put this strategy into action by:
- Assessing Problems and Setting Priorities. We work with other Conservancy programs and partners to encourage comprehensive regional assessments of invasive species threats to biodiversity, of efforts underway to prevent and abate those threats, and of important gaps in those efforts.
- Engaging in Public Policy. To improve government programs and regulations that prevent, contain and manage invasions, we work with Conservancy staff and external partners across the globe to identify and coordinate activities promoting the highest priority policies.
- Creating Strategies and Tools. We develop information, tools, and templates on invasive species biology, impacts, assessment, prevention and management to aid staff and partners in management, public education and policy decisions for conservation projects.
- Working with Industry & Professionals. We are working with partners in the nursery industry, landscape architects, botanical gardens, and garden clubs to reduce the use and spread of invasive horticultural plants. We are also working with other Conservancy programs and partners to identify other industries, such as oceanic shipping, where adoption of voluntary practices could prevent new invasions and stop the spread of existing ones.
- Training and Networking. We lead Conservation Learning Networks to solve problems on invasive species assessment, prevention, management and monitoring.