Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New Mexico
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New Mexico Project

Development of invasive plant species for Chihuahuan Desert Network

July 2008 - December 2010


Participating Agencies

  • Chihuahuan Desert Network

The Chihuahuan Desert Inventory and Monitoring Network (CHDN) is one of thirty-two networks in the National Park Service charged with developing long-term natural resource monitoring plans for their park units. The CHDN is made up of seven national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historic sites in New Mexico and Texas. The invasion of non-native and exotic plant species is challenging protection and management of resources in National Parks throughout the United States. Ecological and system effects depend on the rate and amount of spread, site characteristics, and the biology of organisms in infected areas. Although initial establishment of non-native plants species can result in increased bio-diversity, prolonged occupancy by non-native species can disrupt user interactions and communities, and ultimately lead to a less diverse biota. This research will provide information to help in understanding the introduction, spread, and distribution of non-native species and their effects on native habitats. Identification of distributional pathways and estimating the exposure of biotic resources to invasive species through risk assessment approaches, provide the framework for developing conservation strategies to restrict or eradicate invasive species.