Measuring success of invasive species management

Type: Virtual Panel
Sponsor Groups: Rural Geography Specialty Group, Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 5
Organizers: Sonia Graham, Zhao Ma, Jennifer Atchison, Nick Gill, Tanya Howard, Alexander Metcalf
Chairs: Sonia Graham

Call for Submissions

This session will begin with panelists providing 5 minute overviews of the six key debates and questions followed by a collaborative open discussion with discussants and the audience about theoretical and empirical research that could be used to further inform this debate. It is hoped that the debate will form the basis for a series of articles in Dialogues in Human Geography.

If you are interested in joining our session as a discussant, please send an expression of interest to


Billions of dollars are invested each year in managing invasive plant, animal and insect species (IUCN, 2018). Yet there is little consistent monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of such investment. Lisle and Henderson (2013, p. 118) captured this well when they reflected that “we were not measuring anything really meaningful but, more interestingly, no one else was either. There simply were no real measures of success in weed management”. Where metrics have been developed to measure the success of invasive species management the focus is on the number of animals killed, amount of herbicide sprayed, and number of hours spent on management activities. Research and development funding tend to focus on technical approaches to management, reinforcing a paradigm of top-down scientific expertise. This desire to find and fund ‘silver bullet’ solutions can overlook the practical knowledge held by land managers, and may gloss over the vital role that community leadership must play when faced with persistent and recurring invasive species. There is a need for a broader debate among invasive species researchers and practitioners about what ‘success’ entails, how it is measured, and who is involved in determining whether invasive species programs are successful or not. This session will draw on frameworks and perspectives from diverse fields of research to provide novel insights into broader and alternative approaches to measuring success and designing future invasive species programs.

Some of the questions this panel will discuss include:
• How can we determine causality of success?
• How can the social and environmental costs and benefits of invasive species management programs be measured?
• What opportunities are there to consider the trade-offs among environmental, economic and social costs and benefits? And what are the implications of doing so for environmental and social justice?
• Where do practices of community building intersect with technocratic approaches to defining and assessing best-practice management?
• How can invasive species management programs value failures and experimentation?
• What measures can be used to evaluate the success of collective versus individual invasive species management programs?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Panelist Sonia Graham University of Wollongong Press 5 4:40 PM
Panelist Jennifer Atchison University of Wollongong 5 4:45 PM
Panelist Nick Gill University of Wollongong 5 4:50 PM
Panelist Zhao Ma Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources 5 4:55 PM
Panelist Tanya Howard University of New England 5 5:00 PM
Panelist Alexander Metcalf University of Montana 5 5:05 PM
Discussant Lesley Head University Of Melbourne 5 5:10 PM

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