title image title image
home contact project mapping
What is an Invasive Weed?
Where do they thrive?
Why should I care?
What can I do?
Dirty dozen invaders of the Southwest
Related Links
Glossary
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. If most invasive plants are non-native, how did they get here in the first place?
A. Many invasive plants were originally spread from the Middle East to Europe, colonizing ground disturbed by agriculture, overgrazing, and urban development. When European colonists journeyed overseas, they often inadvertently transported weeds with them in their grain, seed, livestock feed, and ship ballasts. From the New World's ports, weeds hitched rides inland with pioneers, set seed in America's farm fields and rangelands, and began to spread like a slow-moving wildfire.

back to top


Q. If this is such a big concern in the southwest U. S., why haven't we heard about it?
A. Because invasive plants have not yet permeated the southwestern U. S. to the degree they have in other states, public awareness of the threat is low and the institutional infrastructure and fiscal resources for invasive plant management are week.

back to top


Q. How can invasive plants be stopped in the southwestern U. S.?
A. Although we are not immune to invasive plant invasions as evidenced by the relatively recent confirmation of yellow starthistle and leafy spurge in both Arizona and New Mexico, we believe the opportunity still exists to effectively manage and even eradicate many of the invasive plant problems in the southwest. Even more importantly, there is an opportunity to prevent future invasions using timely, low-cost, early detection and management strategies.

back to top


Q. Is it true that public opinion is a big part of the problem?
A. Yes. There is quite a lot of information available pertaining to effective management strategies for invasive plants. But what we often lack are effective means of educating and mobilizing the public to act. This research project will provide information on social and economic factors that will help us to develop outreach programs that will expand public awareness and community involvement in invasive plant management.

back to top


Q. What is the rationale behind the “biological wildfire” analogy?
A. The noxious weed problem in the western United States has been described as, “a biological forest fire racing beyond control because no one wants to be fire boss.” Indeed, when small weed infestations are left unchecked, they can grow exponentially and spread across the land much like a slow-moving biological wildfire. However, land consumed by fire usually recovers and often becomes more productive and diverse than before the fire occurred. On the other hand, land consumed by noxious weeds may be irreversibly changed and never again reach its full biological potential.

back to top


Q. How long will it take to win the war against invasive weeds?
A. The war on weeds will take a long-term effort with a planning horizon up to 20 years. Successful invasive weed management requires using an integrated approach, must occur at the landscape level, and must entail coordination with land managers across jurisdictional boundaries.

back to top


Q. How can I learn more about invasive weeds?
A. Contact your University or local extension office and explore the following web links that contain information on invasive plant biology, ecology, and management.

back to top