Invasive exotic plants represent one of the most serious threats to natural resources in national parks. They can reproduce in great numbers, rapidly colonize new areas, displace native species, and alter ecosystem processes across multiple scales. Established invasive exotic plants may exist in small populations for long periods, making them difficult to detect. If discovered in the early stages of colonization, control efforts are likely to cost less and be more successful than after a species has become more widespread.
It is critical to both detect exotic plants early and to implement a rapid management response. Early detection monitoring for invasive exotic plants gives park managers the information they need to prioritize and plan for their control when eradication is most effective, economical, and ecologically sound. This knowledge can also support long-term ecosystem-wide strategies for controlling invasive exotic plants.