Early detection, coupled with a rapid assessment and a quick and effective response is viewed as one of the best and cost-efficient ways of dealing with problems. This is as true with non-native plant species that invade minimally managed habitats as it is with health and medicine or with agricultural pests. Some potentially invasive plants are bound to arrive in the New England region or within one of the 6 states that comprise New England. The goal of this project is to effectively deal with new incursions of potentially invasive species.
Too frequently, non-native species become established without anyone taking immediate notice. Although botanists and conservationists usually notice new incursions relatively early in their history, there is not overall public concern about a species perceived ability to increase and dominate minimally managed habitats until it is extensively established. It is only after a species has become so widespread and eminently visible that the public take notice. By this time we have to react to its spread in order to attempt its control. One of the goals of the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) is to shift the perception of a problem to a point where management is less costly and has a greater chance for success.
“Early Detection and Rapid Response” is one of 9 critical components of the National Invasive Species Council’s Management Plan, “An Action Plan for the Nation” http://invasivespecies.gov/council/actionc.shtml. This plan stresses the importance of coordinated efforts of all stakeholders. A methodology for dealing with early detection, rapid assessment, and rapid response has been established as part of the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. The “Rapid Responders” database will be used to establish teams of experts who can, once a new incursion has been reported, assess the situation and prepare an action plan for the invasive species at a particular site. Action plans suggest responses that are likely to be quick, effective, and can be tracked to make sure that everything possible is done to slow or arrest the spread of a potentially invasive species in a state or the region.