The primary goal of invasive species management is to eliminate or reduce populations of invasive species. Although management efforts are often motivated by broader goals such as to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species on ecosystems and society, there has been little assessment of the consistency between population-based (e.g., removing invaders) and broader goals (e.g., recovery of ecological systems) for invasive species management. To address this, we conducted a comprehensive review of studies (N = 151) that removed invasive species and assessed ecological recovery over time. We found positive or mixed outcomes in most cases, but 31% of the time ecological recovery did not occur or there were negative ecological outcomes, such as increases in non-target invasive species. Ecological recovery was more likely in areas with relatively little anthropogenic disturbance and few other invaders, and for the recovery of animal populations and communities compared to plant communities and ecosystem processes. Elements of management protocols, such as whether invaders were eradicated (completely removed) versus aggressively suppressed (≥90% removed), did not affect the likelihood of ecological recovery. Our findings highlight the importance of considering broader goals and unintended outcomes when designing and implementing invasive species management programs.
Biological Invasions – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 4, 2017
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