Private or Public, Invasive Plants Respect No Boundaries: What can a private landowner do?
County Extension Director
Aside from being hardy plants, what do kudzu, popcorn tree, climbing fern, tropical soda apple, and cogon grass have in common? They simply don’t belong here! They are all non-native invasive plants, and they are all unwelcome in our natural and agricultural landscapes. These species are but a few of the well over 100 non-native plant species thriving in the southeastern United States. Florida has a long history of battling invasive plants. For example, navigation and recreation on many of Florida’s waters have been obstructed in the past by prolific non-native aquatic plants such as water hyacinth and hydrilla. The good news is that public funds have enabled effective management of invasive species on many of Florida’s public lands and sovereign waters.
Unfortunately, invasive plants respect no boundaries! While the battle against invasive plants on public property has made progress, exotic vegetation has expanded on private lands. Fortunately, because of increasing publicity, educational efforts, and personal experiences, a growing number of private landowners have become aware of the potential problems these plants pose to our agricultural and natural lands. Also, government officials now realize that success on public lands hinges upon managing invasive plants on adjacent private lands. Helping private landowners manage invasive plants is the right thing to do.
Florida Invasive Species Partnership
While public invasive plant management funds are not typically spent on private lands, there are funding options available for private landowners. Linking the many federal, state, and local agencies, along with other nongovernment organizations managing invasive plants, is The Florida Invasive Species Partnership (FISP) (Koubeck, B. and Demers, C. 2009). This group was formed to unite invasive plant management efforts across agency and property boundaries (Koubeck, B. and Demers, C. 2009). The website of the FISP is http://www.floridainvasives.org/. This website has many useful resources for the private and public invasive species manager, and one of its unique features is the on-line tool that sorts through available funding and technical assistance opportunities. From this site you can discover sources of funds available to help manage invasive plants on your private or public lands (Koubeck, B. and Demers, C. 2009). Click on the Landowner Assistance tab from this website to get started!
So what can a private landowner do? Use the http://www.floridainvasives.org/ website and contact your local County Extension Office for more information. Invasive species management is all about teamwork, and is all about protecting Florida’s natural and agricultural lands!
Koubeck, B. and Demers, C. Got Invasives? Get Help! 2009. EDIS Publication #FOR223. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR285