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Goal: Apply Knowledge Globally A practical guide for ecological restoration to curb biotic invasion

Longleaf pines
Longleaf pine ecosystem restored through frequent application of prescribed fire to maintain native plants and discourage biotic invaders. (Forest Service photo by Dale Brockway)


Current restoration programs include both conservation and economic goals. To achieve both, restoration must curb biotic invasions, even under ongoing climate change, and mitigate continued human disturbance. Management actions need to include realistic goal-setting and more inclusive communication with broad, diverse audiences.


Biotic invasions are costly. SRS scientists and cooperators reviewed the literature to identify common and feasible ecological practices that can help ecosystems resist new invasions and suppress the dominance of existing invasive species. Common practices for invasive species control and management include physical, chemical, and biological approaches. The biological approach includes biocontrol and the ecological approach.

Each approach has limitations, but the ecological approach may be the safest and most practical choice. This practice has two major components:

  • Restoration of native plant species. Restoration requires well-planned and implemented planting designs that consider diversity and the abundance of native and invasive species at local, landscape, and regional levels.
  • Management of the restored community to achieve and maintain viable populations. Management tools may include prescribed burning, grazing, harvesting, and thinning.

The literature review focuses on the last decade and examines ecological approaches that involve biodiversity, biomass, and productivity – three key ecosystem variables that reciprocally influence one another.

The scientists conclude that, because of the strong influence from exotic species pools in neighboring areas, local restoration and management efforts would benefit from considering the regional context and projected climate changes.

Principal Investigator
Qinfeng Guo, Research Ecologist
4854 - Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center
Strategic Program Area
Resource Management and Use
Improving ecological restoration to curb biotic invasion—a practical guide
CompassLive Article
Effects of Forest Fragmentation and Restoration on Invasive Species
External Partners
Diane Larson (U.S. Geological Survey)
Deli Wang (Northeastern Normal University, China)
Hai Ren (Chinese Academy of Sciences)