Identifying thresholds and ceilings in plant community recovery for optimal management of widespread weeds

F. Dane Panetta, Luke O'Loughlin, Ben Gooden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


A substantial body of work underlies the theory and practice of early intervention in the management of invasive alien plants, but less attention has been paid to the strategic management of widespread weeds, especially in the context of natural asset recovery. The assumption lingers amongst some researchers and land managers that removing weeds will automatically lead to positive biodiversity outcomes, with the more weed removed, the better the outcome. However, this is often not the case, particularly for long-established weed species whose dominance has created impoverished communities with little capacity for passive recovery. A common result may be wasted investment in weed control and, in the extreme, net negative impacts upon asset values. We present a conceptual model for the management of weed-impacted assets, plus guidance for its application, with a view to improving asset recovery practice. Weed removal should be calibrated by asset recovery, which may mean not seeking to completely remove a weed at a given spatial scale. Our model focusses on weed removal that is enough to initiate asset recovery, but not more than is necessary to promote maximum expression of asset resilience, particularly in the context of secondary invasions. Optimal management efficiency will involve a proportional allocation of resources to control, monitoring and revegetation activities that is appropriate to the stage of asset recovery, as well as a willingness to revise a management goal if the original one cannot be achieved within existing constraints on resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 06 Feb 2019


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