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Invasive Species

NIFA Funds Invasive Plant Atlas

The Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) was started in 2001 to ultimately develop an invasive plants early detection network for the six-state New England region. IPANE was developed by biologists from the University of Connecticut, the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Reserve, and the New England Wild Flower Society, and funded by USDA-NIFA- Initiative for Future Agricultural and Food Systems (IFAFS). The intention was to bring invasive species science to the public and in turn use the public to gather ecological data that could drive scientific research.

Three years into the award, IPANE is meeting many of its goals and receiving lots of attention. The project reached its goal of 450 project-trained volunteers in 2004, a year ahead of schedule. These volunteers gather basic biological data on over 100 species from all over New England. The data is available to both the public and researchers. One research objectives is to use this data to develop predictive models of potential invasive species distribution in the region. This information can, in turn, be used to direct “informed” searches for new incursions around the region.

The IPANE staff is working with the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) and the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW) to develop a national early detection and rapid response network. IPANE, with its science-driven programs and use of volunteers is being looked at as a model for such networks. Protocols that are being developed in conjunction with IPANE will be tested nationally.

According to Dr. Randy Westbrooks, USGS national Invasive Plants Coordinator and author of the Invasive Plants Fact Book: “Make no mistake–IPANE is unique–there is not a similar system anywhere else in existence.”

For more information, contact IPANE directly at ipane@uconn.edu or contact Chris Mattrick regarding training and programs.

 

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