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What it is to be established: policy and management implications for non-native and invasive species

September 5, 2018

Management of invasive species, whether prevention, population reduction, or eradication, requires assessment of the invasive species’ population status and an assessment of the probability of success of management options. Perceptions of a species’ permanence in an environment or lack thereof frequently drives how limited time, financial, and personnel resources are allocated to such efforts. Language we use to describe a non-native species’ status largely defines these perceptions and sets boundaries, real or perceived, to potential management actions. Here we discuss the use of a particular term – “established” – when confronting management decisions for invasive species. Our objective is to contribute to bridging the gap between the realms of conceptual development and management with respect to use of the term “established”. We find that although there are benefits of polysemy and synonymy to conceptual development they present an additional challenge to managers who must weigh the costs, benefits, and potential for success of particular management actions. We also examine how existing conceptual frameworks might be augmented to bridge the theoretical-practical gap, such as more precisely defining potential management actions and explicitly including assessment of risk.

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