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American Society of Landscape Architects
Northern California Chapter

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Invasive Plants Panel Discussion

Invasive Plants Panel Discussion

Event write-up by Paul Dillingham
The destruction and devastation of healthy ecosystems and the harm caused to human populations by invasive plant species is a critical area of concern to landscape architects and horticulturalists, regardless of their scale of practice. On March 20th,2014, the American Society of Landscape Architects-Northern California Chapter, with generous support from StopWaste.org, assembled a panel of experts to present current thinking and latest approaches to the control of invasive plants. Scott Lewis, ASLA, moderated the evening. Panelists included:
  • Doug Johnson, Executive Director of the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC); and chair of the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee
  • Greg Richardson, Project Manager for PlantRight, whose mission is to educate and engage leaders in the nursery and plant industries to take measures to reduce the impact of invasive plants
  • Bobbi Simpson, NPS Liaison for Invasive Plants and Resource Program Management
  • Christiana Conser, Doctoral candidate at UC Davis’s Department of Plant Sciences, and PlantRight consultant
The audience included designers, horticulturalists, and local nursery owners. The discussion combined with insightful audience questions covered a wide range of issues, including an overview of the historical spread of invasives in California; current lists of high- and low-impact species and various definitions of invasives; a discussion of key concerns, from inordinate water usage to ecological health and fire hazard; a comparison of techniques – from manual removal to controlled burns, pre-emergents and soil inoculation; introductions to the efforts of organizations such as the Cal-IPC, PlantRight, and the National Park Service;  approaches to control,from prevention and remediation to the latest research, educational efforts, and state-wide legislation; and case studies demonstrating successes and failures.
The event provided many new ways to view California’s invasive plant dilemma. Doug Johnson remarked that sometimes the most useful description of the cumulative effect of invasive species is that they are “like an oil spill, but less finite.”
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