Exotic plants represent one of the most significant threats to natural resources in national parks. Exotic plants are a concern due to their abilities to reproduce prolifically, rapidly colonize new areas, displace native species, alter ecosystem processes across multiple scales, and detract from the interpretive value of park resources. In the Great Plains, grasslands have been increasingly degraded and fragmented, which results in increasing chances of exotic plant species invasions. Invasive exotic plant monitoring was recognized across all Southern Plains Network (SOPN) parks as the most important shared monitoring need.
Sampling methods have been designed to detect incipient invasions of exotic plants in areas most favorable for invasion. High-priority introduction vectors have been identified for all parks and sections are annually monitored in three-year rotations to 1) detect exotic species introductions early, 2) determine changes in the status and trend (density, abundance, or extent), and 3) determine changes in species composition. When found, location, extent and abundance data will be collected on exotic populations to assist park management and Exotic Plant Management Teams with eradication efforts. Detection and treatment information is communicated among all parties to better inform monitoring and control efforts.
Network Park Units Where Monitoring Occurs
Exotic plant monitoring is done at all parks within the Southern Plains Network.