Key attributes influence the performance of local weed management programs in the southwest United States

Mary E. Hershdorfer, Maria E. Fernandez-Gimenez, Larry D. Howery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In the southwestern United States, local weed management programs are increasingly important in weed prevention and control; however, little is known about the effectiveness of different local approaches to weed management. We surveyed coordinators of 53 local weed management programs in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah to determine how 4 key program attributes (interagency coordination, volunteer participation, regulatory authority and enforcement, and the state in which the program was located) were related with 4 performance measures: weed control, public education and outreach, weed monitoring, and integrated weed management. Based on the responses of 42 program coordinators (79%) we found that 1) weed programs that coordinated their activities with other organizations and those with citizen volunteers conducted more monitoring, but programs that did not coordinate or use volunteers treated more of their infested acreage; 2) programs that used a light-handed regulatory approach conducted more weed control than those with more punitive enforcement regimes or no enforcement authority; and 3) Colorado programs conducted more outreach and education than did programs in the other 3 states. Thus, although volunteer involvement and interagency coordination contributed to the performance of the local weed programs studied, particularly in monitoring, they have not compensated for the lack of locally enforceable weed regulations or adequate funding. Successful weed management in southwestern United States will require adequately funded, locally adapted approaches supported by locally enforceable weed regulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-234
Number of pages10
JournalRangeland Ecology and Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Collective action problem
  • Community-based natural resource management
  • Invasive plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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