Invasive Plant Management
Decision Analysis Tool


To Control or Not to Control? That is the Question:

Natural area managers need to prioritize scarce resources when deciding whether or not to manage invasive species. Recently there has been a lively debate on what invasive species control projects are warranted. Most agree that to justify spending resources on control efforts:

  • the species must be causing serious economic or environmental harm or harm to human health,
  • the project should have a high probability of success, and
  • the work results in a good return on the investment.

  • Control projects should also result in clear conservation outcomes. In practice, it is often difficult to decide if all these criteria are met. The Invasive Plant Management Decision Analysis Tool (IPMDAT) assists in deciding if an invasive plant control project meets these criteria.

    Decision Analysis Tool:

    The IPMDAT is comprised of a strategy-selection decision tree and three subsequent trees for specific control strategies (e.g. eradication, containment/exclusion and suppression) to determine whether control is feasible given the socio-political environment, biological attributes of the plant, effectiveness of control methods, risk of non-target impacts, and available resources. If the project is determined to be feasible, then the user is asked to weigh the costs and benefits of the project. Using this tool makes decisions on invasive plant control more transparent, understandable and fully documented. As a result, we expect more focused invasive control projects will be implemented using limited resources more strategically.

    IMPDAT Online Interface:

    The Nature Conservancy of New York, which led the development of the IMPDAT tool, is funding an online interface for the IPMDAT (available summer of 2014).


    PDF of IMPDAT Version 1.1
    PDF of IMPDAT Form - Version 1.1