Eradicating Eradication: A New Framework for Invasive Species Control
Open Access: Stephanie J Green, Edwin D Gosholz, Functional Eradication as A Framework for Invasive Species Control, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Volume 19, Issue 2, March 2021, Pages 98-107.
When eliminating invasive species population becomes an impractical goal, population suppression and containment become the next priority for management. However, developing quantitative measures and goals for these management activities can ultimately help define the success of these interventions. In their research, Green and Grosholz propose that shifting the paradigm of population suppression to what they call “Functional Eradication” allows for a more efficient model of management of invasive species. Borrowing from management approaches in disciplines of forestry and agricultural systems, this strategy focuses on severely reducing invasive species populations in certain key areas in order to mitigate negative impacts, rather than attempting to eliminate them all together throughout an expansive area. In order for this model to be effective, however, it is important for researchers to incorporate an understanding of the mechanism by which the invaders create a negative impact on the population as well as having an understanding of the population level at which these negative effects will occur and how fast that they will repopulate after eradication. By incorporating this understanding, researchers can then develop targeted strategies that also conserve management resources which can then be applied to other areas. Green and Grosholz point to the Red Lionfish (Pterois spp), the European green crabs (Carcinus maenas), and the Rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus) as example aquatic invasive species for which the functional eradication model has shown promise given their population density and invaded range.
- Functional eradication is a strategy that focuses on suppressing populations of invasive species below levels that cause unacceptable negative impacts on conservation targets.
- This strategy requires key ecological information on the ecology of each invasive species, such as recolonization potential and understanding mechanism of negative effects.
- This strategy has been shown to be successful for the management of several species such as the Red Lionfish (Pterois spp), the European green crabs (Carcinus maenas), and the Rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus), providing the double benefit of efficiently suppressing the invasive species while using fewer resources.
- Whether or not functional eradication will be an effective approach for a certain species can depend on several factors, including their impact on ecosystems, population dynamics, and distribution of habitat.
- Developing conceptual frameworks and models such as functional eradication helps create more targeted conservation plans that conserve resources and also generate social and economic benefits.
- Detailed information on population density, how the species negatively affects an ecosystem, and how the population grows are needed to design an effective conservation plan with this approach.
- Without clear quantitative goals for invasive species control, conservation resources may be used inefficiently and success over time is difficult to document.
Read more of our research summaries:
Embracing change in policy with a changing climate
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Who’s in the driver seat? Reducing stressors not invaders may advance restoration
New research questions our assumptions about invasive plants as the primary drivers of ecological degradation. Restoration success may be limited by interactions of different stressors.
Promising but atypical: New evidence on water chestnut biocontrol host choice and feeding
In addition to documenting a departure from predictions in host-specificity testing, Simmons and Blossey present new evidence on the potential impacts and safety of water chestnut biological control.
Building more equitable and inclusive practice
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Time, patience, and biodiversity: a recipe for biotic resistance?
This article explores a case study of biotic resistance, where over time native species may limit the invasion of other species. A native herbivore learns to consume an invasive alga in less than a decade.
Integrating EDRR surveillance with eDNA metabarcoding
How complete are current eDNA reference libraries for the Laurentian Great Lakes region? Can we confidently integrate invasive species detection with biodiversity sampling?
Missed signals: Invasive species noise disrupts native species communication
Invasive species vocalizations may be a significant avenue for competition among species. This thought-provoking article gives a glimpse into the potential effects of invasive species disrupting a soundscape.
Peering into predictors at the spongy moth invasion front
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Teasing apart invasive worm impacts on native species
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A Place to Pool Data on Potential Plant Invasions
Public gardens are in a unique position to form a sentinel network to aid in detecting potential invasive species. This study informs how public gardens can collectively contribute data for potential new invaders.
Readability Gap in Biological Invasions Research
How accessible is invasive species literature? A detailed analysis of the leading journal, Biological Invasions, points to a decline in readability for key stakeholders over two decades.