Preventing or reducing undesirable impacts of non-native invasive plants is a difficult challenge facing all land managers. Non-native invasive plants impact landscapes across the U.S. through changes in the structure, composition, and successional pathways of native plant communities. They are estimated to be spreading at the rate of about 1.7 million acres per year. The impact to the U.S. economy is believed to exceed $30 billion dollars annually.
Forest Health Protection provides funding, technical assistance, and technology development to support invasive plant species programs of NFS, other federal agencies, state agency and weed management cooperators, Tribes, and the Pacific Trust Territories. Technical assistance includes providing entomology and pathology expertise in the implementation of biological control program efforts. Forest Health Protection also provides assistance in pesticide use, including herbicide risk assessments, which are requirements for the environmental analysis of NFS invasive plant control programs.
- FHP Invasive Plants Program complements the invasive plants programs of NFS, R&D and International Programs, providing financial and technical assistance and technology development to cooperative programs to increase prevention, detection, and control of invasive plants on state and private forest lands.
- Starting in 1995 FHP began an invasive plant control program in Hawaii, which has increased steadily in funding and accomplishments. Since FY 2005, FHP funding has supported programs in all Regions and NE Area that assist state and local programs in 28 States.
- In FY 2006, FHP funding supported cooperator invasive plant treatments on 174,000 acres nationwide. In FY 2007, cooperator funding and accomplishments would be proportionally reduced; no new state programs would be initiated.
- FHP assistance to nonfederal cooperators supports FS as a full partner in Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) programs, in concert with NFS invasive plant programs in the CWMA.
- FHP funds biological control of invasive plants. The FHP Biological Control program provides technical and financial assistance in the development and transfer of technologies aimed at increasing the use of biological controls. Biological control is a proven cost effective and target-specific strategy that has been used extensively to manage invasive plants.