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Volume 22
Number 2
Fall 2004
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Exotic plant management teams deploy to Courthouse Wash in Arches National Park, Utah, to control nonnative tamarisk invasions. A retrospective on NPS invasive species policy and management

By Linda Drees
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
Historical warnings: the crucible of policy
Parks take action
Finding institutional solutions
Needs beyond parks
For the future
Literature cited
About the author
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Following habitat loss, exotic species proliferation is considered the greatest threat to our natural heritage. Invasive species encroachment is implicated in the listing of 42% of all species protected by the Endangered Species Act (Stein and Flack 1996). Invasive species cost the U.S. economy $138 billion annually (Pimental et al. 1999). Of the 83 million acres (34 million ha) managed by the National Park Service, 2.6 million acres (1.1 million ha) are infested by exotic plants and nonnative animals. Examples of nonnative animal species plaguing the parks are feral pigs and goats, hemlock woolly adelgid, New Zealand mudsnail, African oryx, and more recently mosquitoes carrying an exotic microbe, West Nile virus. To address the damage of invasive species, a National Invasive Species Management Plan was developed in 200l and is being carried out by federal agencies. The National Park Service, with its long history of fighting harmful invasives, welcomes this interagency coordination in taking on the tremendous challenge of controlling and eradicating invasive species.

The National Park Service has been a pioneer in combating threats to resources posed by invasive species. This work began with the grassroots efforts of park staff removing feral pigs at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, burros at Grand Canyon National Park (fig. 1), and purple loosestrife at Acadia National Park. As more and more invasives have encroached on parklands over the last century, the National Park Service has committed more resources, developed more complex programs and policies, and strengthened its resolve to deal with and manage invasives.

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This page updated:  29 October 2006

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From the Guest Editor(s)
Information Crossfile
Book Reviews
Short Features
Meetings of Interest
Masthead Information
The challenge of effectively addressing the threat of invasive species to the National Park System
  A retrospective on NPS invasive species policy and management
Assessing the invasive species issue
The role of fire and fire management in the invasion of nonnative plants in California
Invasions in the sea
Under water and out of sight: Invasive fishes in the United States
Ecological effects of animal introductions at Channel Islands National Park
Hemlock woolly adelgid and the disintegration of eastern hemlock ecosystems
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