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Jennifer Drozd Davit

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Jennifer is the Director of The Lurie Garden in Chicago.

Research Project

An analysis of invasive plant management policy development at botanical gardens and arboreta in the United States.

The current attitudes and actions of United States botanic gardens regarding invasive plant management were evaluated. Invasive plant species are present in many botanic gardens and learning how different institutions respond to their presence is beneficial. This sharing and dissemination of information helps botanic gardens identify management strategies that have been successful at other institutions, highlighting procedures that could be useful at their own institution. This study classifies botanic gardens according to the presences of, plan for, or lack of an invasive plant management plan. The content of existing invasive plant management plans are evaluated using two standards. This analysis illustrated which issues botanic gardens are focusing o and which issues they fail to concentrate on. Determining which strategies have been successful in managing invasive plants and which have not will allow the botanic garden community to direct its resources in the most effective manner.

This study was carried out by sending electronic mail surveys to 60 botanical institutions in the United States that were either members of the Center for Plant Conservation or Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Institutional characteristics of budget size and mission statement were applied to evaluate survey results. Invasive plant management policies were evaluated using two existing documents that were generated at the North Carolina Botanic Garden and the Missouri Botanic Garden.

Results showed that the survey response rate was highest for institutions with large budgets, as compared to institutions with mid-size and small budgets. Survey responses indicated that a higher number of institutions with a large budget had policies when compared to institutions with mid-size and small budgets. Evaluation of these policies indicated that gardens direct the majority of their energy to eliminate plant species which have already become invasive, in both cultivated collections and natural areas. Responses revealed that the gardens surveyed focus les effort on risk assessment and prevention of future invasions. This is the most revealing finding from this study, as it illuminates an area where botanic gardens can become more effective. As the findings from this study are disseminated, they may give rise to a change in management strategies and lead to the prevention of future plant invasions.