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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 311-318

Living with Invasive Plants in the Anthropocene: The Importance of Understanding Practice and Experience

1 Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER), University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
2 Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada
3 School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
4 Current affiliation: Institut de géographie et durabilité, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; Research undertaken at: School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
5 Current affiliation: School of Geography, University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC, Australia; Research undertaken at: Monash Indigenous Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Jennifer Atchison
Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER), University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.170411

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The role of humans in facilitating the rapid spread of plants at a scale that is considered invasive is one manifestation of the Anthropocene, now framed as a geological period in which humans are the dominant force in landscape transformation. Invasive plant management faces intensified challenges, and can no longer be viewed in terms of 'eradication' or 'restoration of original landscapes'. In this perspectives piece, we focus on the practice and experience of people engaged in invasive plant management, using examples from Australia and Canada. We show how managers 1) face several pragmatic trade-offs; 2) must reconcile diverse views, even within stakeholder groups; 3) must balance competing temporal scales; 4) encounter tensions with policy; and 5) face critical and under-acknowledged labour challenges. These themes show the variety of considerations based on which invasive plant managers make complex decisions about when, where, and how to intervene. Their widespread pragmatic acceptance of small, situated gains (as well as losses) combines with impressive long-term commitments to the task of invasives management. We suggest that the actual practice of weed management challenges those academic perspectives that still aspire to attain pristine nature.

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