Invasive Species Mapping and Management: Leafy Spurge in Swan Lake First Nation
Invasive species are simply any plant or animal that is not native to a specific location. Many of the plants and animals we see in our environment that we believe to be part of the naturally occurring ecosystem may in fact be an invasive species that was introduced many years ago. Some invasive species have non-adverse effects and may not require extensive management, others, however, can pose a great threat to the existing species and ecosystem in a region and humans may have to intervene for management purposes.
In order to effectively manage invasive species it is important to first identify the risks posed by the invasive species and recognize the existing conditions within the area of concern. Knowing what risks are posed will be useful when prioritizing and determining which management practices will be used. In order to identify existing conditions the aid of technology can be extremely useful. The use of GPS and mapping software can help to create a database and visual aids of the locations of the invasive species, which can be critical for effective management and monitoring.
In April 2014, CIER started working with Swan Lake First Nation to go through the steps of managing an invasive species on their reserve, a species called leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula). Leafy spurge is a noxious weed and can be damaging to most grazing animals. As part of this project funded by the Eco-Action fund, CIER assisted with developing a plan for leafy spurge management which included training community researchers to collect GPS data and mapping that data to show the location, size and density of leafy spurge patches.
Invasive species can pose a threat and if left untreated the damage can be devastating. The best tool to prevent the issues that invasive species may pose is information. The data collected through GPS devices can be invaluable when developing an effective management plan and trained researchers can then return to sites to track and determine if management strategies are effective.
Read more about invasive species and how you can prevent their spreading.
Read more about leafy spurge management.