Publication Details

Head, L., Larson, B. M. H., Hobbs, R., Atchison, J., Gill, N., Kull, C. & Rangan, H. (2015). Living with invasive plants in the Anthropocene: the importance of understanding practice and experience. Conservation and Society, 13 (3), 311-318.


The role of humans in facilitating the rapid spread of plants at a scale that is considered invasive is one manifestation of the Anthropocene, now framed as a geological period in which humans are the dominant force in landscape transformation. Invasive plant management faces intensified challenges, and can no longer be viewed in terms of 'eradication' or 'restoration of original landscapes'. In this perspectives piece, we focus on the practice and experience of people engaged in invasive plant management, using examples from Australia and Canada. We show how managers 1) face several pragmatic trade-offs; 2) must reconcile diverse views, even within stakeholder groups; 3) must balance competing temporal scales; 4) encounter tensions with policy; and 5) face critical and under-acknowledged labour challenges. These themes show the variety of considerations based on which invasive plant managers make complex decisions about when, where, and how to intervene. Their widespread pragmatic acceptance of small, situated gains (as well as losses) combines with impressive long-term commitments to the task of invasives management. We suggest that the actual practice of weed management challenges those academic perspectives that still aspire to attain pristine nature.

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