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:
Torres et al. investigate what happens when you remove invasive plant species, and how timing of removal activities impacts plant communities.
Fusco et al. (2023) summarize what spatial invasive plant data is available in the United States and how it can be used.
Bradley et al. (2023) lay out ideas for better integration of invasive species and climate change policies and practices
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.
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.
This article reflects on how we can reframe our thinking and work to support equitable, inclusive, and just conservation science and practice.
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.
How complete are current eDNA reference libraries for the Laurentian Great Lakes region? Can we confidently integrate invasive species detection with biodiversity sampling?
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.
Shifting temperature regimes can influence the suitability and spread of invasive insects, including spongy moth. How can secondary host plant connectivity support its expansion across the U.S.?
Can invasive worms serve as food for native species? How do they alter leaf litter microhabitat? New research offers insight into the potential effects and trophic interactions of jumping worms (Amynthas spp.) and native reptiles and amphibians.