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Individual Highlight

A Practical Guide for Ecological Restoration to Curb Biotic Invasion

Photo of Longleaf pine ecosystem restored through frequent application of prescribed fire to maintain native plants and discourage biotic invaders.
Longleaf pine ecosystem restored through frequent application of prescribed fire to maintain native plants and discourage biotic invaders. Snapshot : Current restoration programs include both conservation and economic goals. To achieve both, restoration must curb biotic invasions, even under ongoing climate change, and mitigate contined human disturbance. Management actions need to include realistic goal-setting and more inclusive communication with broad, diverse audiences.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Guo, Qinfeng 
Research Location : Ocala National Forest, Silver Springs, FL; Fort Benning Military Base, Columbus, GA; Goethe State Forest, Dunnellon, FL; Blackwater River State Forest, Munson, FL; Escambia Experimental Forest, TRM Woodlands Company, Brewton, AL; Solon Dixon Forestry Center, Auburn University, Auburn, AL; Palustris Experimental Forest, Pineville, LA; Kisatchie National Forest, Pineville, LA; Luquillo Experimental Forest and LTER Site, San Juan, PR; Cedar Creek LTER Site, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; Konza Prairie LTER Site, University of Kansas, Manhattan, KS; Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Vancouver, WA; Kiowa National Grassland, Clayton, NM; Cibola National Forest, Mountainair, NM; In addition, this broad spectrum review incorporates research findings from a wide range of study sites in the U.S., Chile, China, Ireland, Europe, Mongolia, and Tibet.?
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2019
Highlight ID : 1560


Biotic invasions are costly. USDA Forest Service scientists at the agency's Southern Research Station and cooperators reviewed the literature to identify common, feasible ecological practices that can help ecosystems resist new invasions and suppress the dominance of existing invasive species. Common practices for invasive species control and management include physical, chemical, and biological approaches. The biological approach includes biocontrol and the ecological approach. Each approach has limitations, but the ecological approach may be the safest and most practical choice. This practice has two major components: (1) restoration of native plant species that requires well-planned and implemented planting designs that consider diversity and the abundance of native and invasive species at local, landscape, and regional levels; and (2) management of the restored community to achieve and maintain viable populations. Management tools may include prescribed burning, grazing, harvesting, and thinning. The literature review focuses on the last decade and examines ecological approaches that involve biodiversity, biomass, and productivity, which are three key ecosystem variables that reciprocally influence one another. The scientists conclude that, because of the strong influence from exotic species pools in neighboring areas, local restoration and management efforts would benefit from considering the regional context and projected climate changes.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Dale Brockway - Southern Research Station (retired)
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Northeastern Normal University China
  • U.S. Geological Survey