Consider this recent article from the Journal of Applied Ecology: Estimating and influencing the duration of weed eradication programmes. The article asks a very simple question: based on the past performance of a weed eradication program at a site, how long will it take to get rid of a targeted weed? The model was applied to two invasive plants. For one of the plants, chromolaena (Chromolaena odorata), the study estimated it would take a minimum of 23 years with (stepped-up efforts) and 248 years based on the results from the current program!
This may seem discouraging. However, the study suggests many possible paths forward including: (1) total eradication is not practicable, but weed control is; (2) total eradication is not practicable and efforts should be focused elsewhere; or (3) more needs to be done, for example, at high-value sites.
The authors include: F. Dane Panetta, Oscar Cacho, Susie Hester, Nikki Sims-Chilton, and Simon Brooks.
For more information on chromolaena (Chromolaena odorata) as an invasive plant, read TT Struhsaker, PJ Struhsaker, KS Siex, Conserving Africa’s rain forests: problems in protected areas and possible solutions (free PDF). Biological Conservation, 2005; 123 (1): 45–54.