Ecological Restoration and NonIndigenous Plant Species: A Review



In ecological restoration, nonindigenous species can pose a major problem because they are often aggressive and can overwhelm native species, thus altering ecosystem structure. This article identifies the circumstances in which prospects for use of restoration technology in controlling invaders are favorable or unfavorable, the factors that make certain species good colonizers, and the characteristics that make ecosystems susceptible to invasion. It discusses prospects for using restoration technology in controlling nonindigenous species by influencing hydroperiod, photo-period, thermoperiod, edaphic conditions, and availability of biological control agents so as to produce ecological conditions that are inhospitable to invaders. The limitations of restoration are discussed, as well as specific ecological situations in which it is likely to be the method of choice for control of nonindigenous species. Use of fire, flooding, manual removal, shading, substrate removal, and herbicide application as control techniques in conjunction with restoration efforts are considered. Specific examples, including the techniques employed, indicate the potential for controlling nonindigenous species in the process of ecosystem restoration.