Invasive Plants

Scotch broom inhibits reforestation efforts.Invasive plants have been introduced to the region or U.S. from a different region or country. They may have been introduced intentionally (as an ornamental plant, for example) or accidentally (as a contaminant in crop seeds, for example). While many non-native plants are extremely beneficial to society, like rice or potatoes, invasive plants spread rapidly and cause or are likely to cause harm to economic, environmental, or human health

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What is a noxious weed?

According to the Federal Noxious Weed Law of 1974, a noxious weed is a plant that is injurious to agriculture, irrigation, navigation, commerce, fish or wildlife resources, or public health.  Federal and state authorities maintain lists of noxious weeds and the plants on the list are associated with regulations regarding transport, quarantine and control.  Invasive plants may or may not also be listed as a noxious weed in any given location.

Invasive Plant Management

The purpose of the Forest Service’s invasive plant management program is to protect the health of our National Forest ecosystems.  We do this by conducting invasive plant management on the National Forests and by assisting our State and private neighbors with invasive plant management on their property.

The cornerstones of invasive plant management are:

Prevention

Preventing the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive plants is crucial if we are to maintain the native plant and animal communities on our National Forests. Nationally, the Forest Service has released a guide to help forest managers implement effective prevention measures.

In the Pacific Northwest Region, the Regional Forester directed forests to implement certain prevention actions. Region-wide standards were contained in the 2005 Invasive Plant Management Record of Decision. Additionally, the Regional Forester directed each National Forest to develop and implement further prevention measures that were feasible for that forest.

  • Forest-level prevention measures

One of the prevention measures implemented as a result of the 2005 Record of Decision was the requirement to use certified weed free feed for all livestock on National Forest System lands.

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Early Detection & Rapid Response

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Control of existing populations 

Implementing prevention measures will not reduce the harm done by existing populations of invasive plants, nor prevent their spread by natural means such as wind, water or wildlife. Therefore, a careful and effective control program is necessary to restore our native habitats. The Forest Service is required to use integrated pest management, which involves the use of several different tools and approaches to correct a problem rather than using just one method. For this region, the Regional Forester also implemented in the 2005 Record of Decision certain requirements for treatment of invasive plants.

The purpose of our control program is not about “dead weeds” but rather to correct a problem and restore the landscape.

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Inventory and Monitoring
Environmental Assessment
  • Invasive Plant NEPA Documents
  • Links to Regional and Forest NEPA documents

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Additional Management Tools

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