Monitoring and Mapping
Invasive species that include plants, animals, and pathogens, have significant negative effects on both human and natural systems (Pimental et al., 2000). For example, yellow star thistle (Centaurea solstitialis) has overrun four million hectares of once productive grassland in California, rendering it unusable for grazing (Campbell 1994).
Early detection and rapid response (EDRR) programs are cited as one of the most effective means for combating invasive species in terms of cost and results (Westbrooks 2004). These programs seek to detect invasive species when they first invade a new area, because newly-arrived invasive species are easier and cheaper to control than well-established species.
However, before you can control a species you have to find a species. That is where you come in. There are only so many people whose job it is to look for invasive species. They can’t look everywhere at once. They need help because the more people we have looking for invasive species the more likely it is that those invasive species will be found.
Finding invasive species is only the first step. Once the species are found they need to be reported, and that is why databases like the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) are important. GLEDN is a database that collects data from people like you who are out on the landscape working or recreating. You can either report species over the internet once you get home or by using our app on your smartphone. GLEDN combines your reports with information from other databases to create as complete a picture as possible of where invasive species are in the region. By collecting as much invasive species data as possible in one place, we make the efforts of those trying to control invasive species more successful. More successful control means that we protect our favorite places. We keep our lakes and rivers cleaner. We protect our parks and forests. So grab the GLEDN app and join all of us in doing something about invasive species.
GLEDN smartphone app: http://apps.bugwood.org/mobile/gledn.html
Campbell, F.T. (1994) Killer pigs, vines, and fungi: Alien species threaten native ecosystems.
Endangered Species Technical Bulletin 19: 3-5.
Pimentel, D., Lach, L., Zuniga, R., & Morrison, D. (2000) Environmental and Economic Costs
of Nonindigenous Species in the United States. Bioscience. 50(1): 53-65.
Westbrooks, R. (2004) New Approaches for Early Detection and Rapid Response to Invasive
Plants in the United States. Weed Technology. 18(Invasive Weed Symposium): 1468-1471.