Research Needs Assessment

Identifying Research Gaps and Priorities for Invasive Plants in California

Studying hybrid Spartina in San Francisco Bay. Photo by Elizabeth Brusati

Studying hybrid Spartina in San Francisco Bay. Photo by Elizabeth Brusati

California needs a coordinated plan to direct research efforts on invasive plants. According to the California Noxious and Invasive Weed Action Plan, “Most weed researchers form their own research priorities through stakeholder meetings, requests from practitioners, discussions with colleagues, and their own observations” (p. 23). The formation of the California Invasive Species Council (February 2009) provides an opportunity to communicate high-priority research needs to policymakers.

This project produced a summary of major research needs for California invasive plants that can be used to inform state policy and provide ideas for researchers, especially graduate students. A coordinated plan may encourage researchers to choose topics that are most in need of study, and might provide more effective use of research funds and time by facilitating cooperation among researchers. In addition, the process will promote communication between researchers and land managers, a key aspect of Cal-IPC’s mission. We thank the California Department of Food and Agriculture for funding this project.

Topics included in the Research Needs Assessment

  1. Weed Biology and Ecology
  2. Ecological Impacts
  3. Distribution, Biogeography and Range Modeling
  4. Risk assessment
  5. Climate Change and Other Human-Caused Factors Aiding Invasion
  6. Control and Management Methods
  7. Restoration
  8. Economic Impacts
  9. Social Issues
  10. Policy Issues
  11. Invasive plant researchers in California
  12. Funding programs

The research needs for invasive plants in California presented here are meant to reflect the opinions and expertise of those interviewed as well as those of the larger community. This report is intended as a “living document” and Cal-IPC welcomes suggestions for additional research needs or information that will help us address those identified here. To contribute information, please contact Cal-IPC Science Program Director Jutta Burger.

Related Links

Cal-IPC Invasive Plant Inventory – Summary of impacts, invasiveness, and distribution for more than 200 invasive plants in California.

Montana Weed Management Plan (2008) – A similar project in Montana that identifies high-priority research projects in six categories for that state.