The National Strategy identifies four categories of efforts, or "program elements," to address the invasive species threat:
Prevention—Keeping invasive species out
Early detection and rapid response—Detecting and eradicating invasive species to stop their spread
Control and management—Eliminating or controlling invasive species
Rehabilitation and restoration—Repairing, minimizing, or reversing the harmful effects of invasive species
Implementing the National Plan
The chief of the USDA Forest Service identified invasive species (including weeds and other organisms) as a critical threat to forest and rangeland ecosystems. In response to this threat, the Forest Service unveiled a National Strategy and Implementation Plan for Invasive Species Management in 2004. This document provides strategic direction for the Forest Serviceís efforts to combat invasive species. Geospatial technologies can aid resource managers in their fight against these organisms.
Traditionally, weed management practices focused on treating the symptoms of weed infestations, generally using herbicides to kill the weeds. While this approach may have been adequate in the past, to stem the current onslaught of existing and new invasive weed species, new management tools and methods, coupled with planning and cross jurisdictional cooperation, are needed. Geospatial technologies such as remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide new tools to add to a resource managerís toolbox. These technologies can help resource managers accomplish some of the major priorities identified by the National Strategy for three of four categories of efforts for combating invasive species:
Prevention: GIS modeling can help resource managers assess the risk of invasion of priority weed species, enabling the development of targeted prevention programs.
Early Detection and Rapid Response: GIS modeling can help resource managers develop maps of priority ecosystems and habitats at risk of invasion, allowing early detection efforts to be focused in the most critical areas.
Control and Management: For certain weed species and circumstances, remotely sensed imagery can improve the efficiency of inventory and mapping efforts across large geographic areas.