Protect your park from aliens
You can be part of the frontline defense against new alien plant invaders.
The Pacific Island Network, the Inventory & Monitoring arm of the NPS in the tropical Pacific, just released Invasive Plant Field Guides as part of the Early Detection of invasive plants monitoring protocol. Each Pacific island national park unit is now armed with sets of these useful cards to increase awareness and detection of aggressive park invaders before they spread and become a devastating nuisance for the parks and communities around them.
NPS Botanist Alison Ainsworth and her vegetation team worked closely with Natural Resources Management at each Pacific island park to develop a list of likely invasive species. “We focused on plants not yet in the parks, but ones that may cause park-wide damage,” said Ainsworth. “If we find them before they become established in the parks, there is a good shot at controlling them.”
The cards are designed to be used by any NPS staff in the field – the eyes and ears of the parks.
Each card features photos of the target species, including its flowers, fruits, seeds, and lifeform, along with basic information on the plant’s impact, origins, and distribution. To limit false alarms, the cards include one or two look-a-like species that might otherwise be confused with the target species. Contact information for each park’s invasive species eradication team is also indicated.
You can download your own set of field ID cards for the National Park Service unit of your choice (in the tropical Pacific islands), and join the fight by keeping an eye out for alien invaders.
–C. Phifer, NPS Biological Technician