External Sources and Links

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The Global Invasive Species Database, managed by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.[1]

The Global Compendium of Weeds. a list of over 28,000 names of weed species culled from over 1,000 references, with citations and summaries. Includes agricultural weeds as well as invasive species. [2]

Ragamuffin Earth, by Emma Marris. A discussion of unmanaged ecosystems that consist mainly of non-native species. NATURE, Vol 460, 23 July 2009, pp 450-453.

Invasion Biology, Critique of a Pseudoscience, by David I. Theodoropoulos, a California conservation biologist whose thesis is that without controlled experimentation, the study of invasive species cannot be scientific, and that it is coloured by human emotion, use of affective terminology, and dislike of change and otherness. Avvar Books, Blythe, California, 2003. ISBN 0-9708504-1-7

North America

The Flora of North America, an ongoing project eventually to cover the entire continental flora: [3]

Natureserve Explorer, an on-line Encyclopedia of Life, includes impact rankings of invasive non-native plants : [4]

An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for Their Impact on Biodiversity. by Morse, L.E., J.M. Randall, N. Benton, R. Hiebert, and S. Lu. Version 1. 2004. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, a description of how NatureServe assessments of invasive species are done.

USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.: [5]

USDA, NRCS, Invasive and Noxious Weeds: [6]

The Nature Conservancy[7] has as much collective experience managing aliens in natural areas as anyone, and they've been kind enough to share. The Invasive Species Initiative offers an ever-expanding list of resources and links. They have excellent ESA datasheets [8] on various species that include as much information as they could gather, even if it is inconclusive or contradictory, and they actively solicit additional information for future inclusion. (They also offer novel suggestions for weed control tools and methods, including software for GIS-based weed management.

Of the invasive species they list, with advice on control, we note those that occur in Alberta currently. All are alien. All pose a severe problem somewhere in North America. Some are not problems in Alberta now, but may have that potential.

USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Centre:[9] a broad range of resources and publications, some relating to invasive plants.

Ecological Society of America: [10] Journal subscriptions are required to access most information here, but a fact sheet "Invasion!" is available for free download. [11]

University of Montana Invaders Database [12] allows users to query spatial or temporal distribution of invasive plants in the 5 NW states.

North Dakota State University Extension Service: [13] publications on weeds and weed control.


WeedInfo.ca beta, a list, ID resource, and information centre, © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2010, with the disclaimer 'The views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada or of the Government of Canada'. Prepared by a distinguished list of contributors. [14]

Environment Canada Invasive Alien Species in Canada [15]

The Invasive Plants of Natural Habitats in Canada by Erich Haber, published the Canadian Wildlife Service, lists invasive species that have been reported to Dr. Haber. In addition to species known to occur in Alberta, we've included species of concern elsewhere in Canada that do not yet occur in Alberta (but that might be serious problems if they did). This book includes extensive accounts of biology, ecology, distribution, and control of many species. For the full text see: [16].

The Biology of Canadian Weeds [17] provides detailed accounts of species known to be weedy (from an agricultural perspective) in Canada. It is the definitive source of information about those Canadian weeds that have been studied rigorously, both alien and native.

The Biology of Invasive Alien Plants in Canada a new series, instructions for preparation of accounts. [18]

Field Guide to Noxious and Other Selected Weeds of British Columbia [19]

Inventory of Canadian agricultural weeds [electronic resource], Stephen J. Darbyshire, National Library of Canada Cat. No. A42-100/2003E-IN [20]


Native Plant Revegetation Guidelines for Alberta

Some of our information about listed species is excerpted from the guidelines, the original of which can be found at: [21]

What weed species are unacceptable?

Native seed mixes used for reclamation must not contain any restricted or noxious weeds (as defined in the Alberta Weed Control Act or by the local municipality). Approval under the Canada Seed Act, e.g. Canada No. 1, does not mean that the seed will be weed free. The weed seed content, as determined by seed analysis, is more important than the grade of the seed. Land that is substantially weed-free should not be seeded with a native seed mix that contains any of the species listed as unacceptable.

Public Lands Update No. IND 2000-2

December 14, 2000

Purity of Native Seed Used For Revegetation of Natural Landscapes


What agronomic species can be a problem on natural landscapes?

It has been shown that a number of introduced forage species have the potential to invade and displace native species in natural landscapes. Different species tend to be a problem in different areas. The amounts of invasive agronomic forage species that are allowed in native seed mixes may vary depending on the surrounding land use, whether the agronomics are already found on the site or in the immediate area, and what the site will be used for following reclamation. Prior to ordering seed, determine what species may present a problem. Some of the agronomic forage species that may be invasive in natural landscapes are listed as invasive agronomic with comments on the regions likely to be affected.

The Alberta Invasive Plants Council maintains a website [22] with information on invasive plants, particularly agricultural weeds, and an emphasis on professional management and regulation. The North American Weed Management Association [23] is an international organization, based in the US, with similar focus.


See species pages for additional references.

Tylianakis JM (2008) Understanding the Web of Life: The Birds, the Bees, and Sex with Aliens. PLoS Biol 6(2): e47. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060047 [24]

Aizen MA, Morales CL, Morales JM (2008) Invasive Mutualists Erode Native Pollination Webs. PLoS Biol 6(2): e31. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060031 [25]

Gross L (2006) How an Aggressive Weedy Invader Displaces Native Trees. PLoS Biol 4(5): e173. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040173 [26]

Matthew Germino, Steven Seefeldt, Judson Hill, & Keith Weber, Ecological Syndromes of Invasion in Semiarid Rangelands and their Implications for Land Management and Restoration, 16th Int’l Conference, Society for Ecological Restoration, August 24-26, 2004, Victoria, Canada.

Andrew S. MacDougall & Roy Turkington, Are Invasive Species the Drivers or Passengers of Change in Degraded Ecosystems?, Ecology, 86(1), 2005, pp. 42–55.

David F. Polster, Restoration Encyclopedia: Invasive Species in Ecological Restoration, proceedings of the 16th Int’l. Conference, Society for Ecological Restoration, August 24-26, 2004, Victoria, Canada.

E.H. Moss, Flora of Alberta, 2nd Edition revised by John G. Packer, University of Toronto Press, 1983.

C. Leo Hitchcock, & Arthur Cronquist, Flora of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press, 1973.

C. Leo Hitchcock, Arthur Cronquist, Mario Owenby, & J. W. Thompson, Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest, University of Washington Press, 1971.

Bruce Bennett, Yukon Territory Introduced Plants, Yukon Department of Environment, May 2008.

Dana Blumenthala, Charles E. Mitchell, Petr Pysekc, and Vojtech Jarosík, Synergy between pathogen release and resource availability in plant invasion PNAS May 12, 2009, vol. 106, no. 19, 7899 –7904, cgi doi 10.1073 pnas.0812607106 (Open Access at [27])

David A. Norton, Species Invasions and the Limits to Restoration: Learning from the New Zealand Experience, Science 31 July 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5940, pp. 569 - 571 DOI: 10.1126/science.1172978

Abstract: Species invasions impose key biotic thresholds limiting the success of ecological restoration projects. These thresholds may be difficult to reverse and will have long-term consequences for restoration because of invasion legacies such as extinctions; because most invasive species cannot be eliminated given current technology and resources; and because even when controlled to low levels, invasive species continue to exert substantial pressure on native biodiversity. Restoration outcomes in the face of biological invasions are likely to be novel and will require long-term resource commitment, as any letup in invasive species management will result in the loss of the conservation gains achieved.

Richard A. Lankau, Victoria Nuzzo, Greg Spyreas, and Adam S. Davis, Evolutionary limits ameliorate the negative impact of an invasive plant, PNAS September 8, 2009 vol. 106 no. 36 pp15362–15367, www.pnas.org cgi doi 10.1073 pnas.0905446106. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.

Abstract: Invasive species can quickly transform biological communities due to their high abundance and strong impacts on native species, in part because they can be released from the ecological forces that limit native populations. However, little is known about the long-term dynamics of invasions; do invaders maintain their dominant status over long time spans, or do new ecological and evolutionary forces eventually develop to limit their populations? Alliaria petiolata is a Eurasian species that aggressively invades North American forest understories, in part due to the production of toxic phytochemicals. Here we document a marked decline in its phytotoxin production and a consequent decline in their impact on three native species, across a 50 year chronosequence of Alliaria petiolata invasion. Genetic evidence suggests that these patterns result from natural selection for decreased phytotoxin production rather than founder effects during introduction and spread. These patterns are consistent with the finding of slowing A. petiolata population growth and rebounding native species abundance across a separate chronosequence in Illinois, U.S. These results suggest that this invader is developing evolutionary limits in its introduced range and highlight the importance of understanding the long-term processes that shape species invasions and their impacts.

Marten Winter, et al, Plant extinctions and introductions lead to phylogenetic and taxonomic homogenization of the European flora PNAS December 22, 2009 vol. 106 no. 51 pp21721–21725, www.pnas.org cgi doi 10.1073 pnas.0907088106. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.

Abstract: Human activities have altered the composition of biotas through two fundamental processes: native extinctions and alien introductions. Both processes affect the taxonomic (i.e., species identity) and phylogenetic (i.e., species evolutionary history) structure of species assemblages. However, it is not known what the relative magnitude of these effects is at large spatial scales. Here we analyze the large-scale effects of plant extinctions and introductions on taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of floras across Europe, using data from 23 regions. Considering both native losses and alien additions in concert reveals that plant invasions since AD 1500 exceeded extinctions, resulting in (i) increased taxonomic diversity (i.e., species richness) but decreased phylogenetic diversity within European regions, and (ii) increased taxonomic and phylogenetic similarity among European regions. Those extinct species were phylogenetically and taxonomically unique and typical of individual regions, and extinctions usually were not continent- wide and therefore led to differentiation. By contrast, because introduced alien species tended to be closely related to native species, the floristic differentiation due to species extinction was lessened by taxonomic and phylogenetic homogenization effects. This was especially due to species that are alien to a region but native to other parts of Europe. As a result, floras of many European regions have partly lost and will continue to lose their uniqueness. The results suggest that biodiversity needs to be assessed in terms of both species taxonomic and phylogenetic identity, but the latter is rarely used as a metric of the biodiversity dynamics.

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