Avoiding the Invasive Trap: Policies for Aquatic Non-Indigenous Plant Management

User:Darkone; From Wikimedia Commons

User:Darkone; From Wikimedia Commons

ABSTRACT
Many aquatic invasive species (AIS) management programs are doing important work on preventing non-indigenous species movement to our wild places. Attitudes and perspectives on aquatic non-indigenous species and their management by ecologists and the public are fundamentally a question of human values. Despite eloquent philosophical writings on treatment of non-indigenous species, management agency rhetoric on ‘invasive’ species usually degenerates to a good versus evil language, often with questionable results and lost conservation dollars. We assess and learn from an established AIS program. We discuss an ethic framework and operational directives to minimise the trap of a binary classification of species into bad or good, and we advocate for a principled pragmatic approach to minimise conflicts. We make a case for not labelling species and instead focusing on managing nuisance conditions and protecting ecosystem health.

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