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What are invasive plants and why are they a problem?

Invasive plants are species that are able to quickly establish and flourish in new areas due to a competitive ability over other vegetation. Invasive plants are non-native and can quickly form extensive and dense infestations. Infestations in the natural environment can threaten biodiversity, reduce forage for wildlife and reduce habitat for rare or endangered species. Certain invasive plants also have undesirable traits such as toxicity to animals and humans or they can restrict recreation due to forming extremely dense infestations or containing spines. When invasive plants infest agricultural areas, they can reduce forage for livestock, contaminate seed stocks and reduce crop yields. Some invasive plants are known to affect regeneration of tree seedlings planted after logging.


What can we do?

Prevention of infestations in the first place is the most successful and cost-efficient method of dealing with invasive plants. Elimination may be possible for established infestations if the area is not too large and re-infestation by neighbouring plants is not likely. In some instances, infestations are too large to be practical for elimination, but must be controlled to prevent the spread of new infestations. Control or elimination is generally done by one of three methods: mechanical, chemical or biocontrol methods.

Usually the most successful control or elimination efforts use some form of ‘Integrated Pest Management.’ Integrated Pest Management is a management strategy that identifies a number of steps used to control invasive plants, including:

  • Inventory of invasive plant infestations
  • Risk assessment
  • Identification and development of control options
  • Decision on one or more control methods to be used, and
  • Site treatment and monitoring

Find out What You Can Do to prevent and control invasive plant infestations.

Weeds know no boundaries: join forces!

The Northwest Invasive Plant Council (NWIPC) formed as a committee in 1992, later becoming a not-for-profit organization in 2004. The NWIPC's goal is to prevent further damage to the ecosystems of the northwest and central B.C. from invasive alien plants. Bylaws and a constitution govern the NWIPC, and documents such as the current NWIPC 2014 Plan and Profile, and Invasive Plant Strategy for BC detail the strategies used by the NWIPC to manage invasive plants. Please contact the NWIPC Program Manager with your comments and questions.


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posted: November 3, 2018
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