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Integrated Vegetation Management

To sustain viable and healthy forest ecosystems it is necessary to consider vegetation management practices. Successful vegetation management uses a systematic approach called Integrated Pest Management (IPM), or in this case Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM).
Integrated vegetation management can be as simple as using a brush saw to cut undesirable vegetation and a backpack sprayer to apply an herbicide to the cut surface to prevent resprouting.

Integrated vegetation management can be as simple as using a brush saw to cut undesirable vegetation and a backpack sprayer to apply an herbicide to the cut surface to prevent resprouting.

Consider IVM a subset of IPM. Pest management techniques generally include cultural, manual/mechanical, biological, and chemical. Conceptually, IVM is a pyramid, with cultural practices at the bottom and chemical at the top. As you move up the pyramid control practices become more complex and generally more costly. When choosing control practices always start with the simplest method and move, as necessary, to more complicated interventions.

IVM uses a four phase approach to control interfering plants.

  1. scout the property identifying and mapping the location of the pest plants that are present.
  2. define threshold levels of plant abundance based upon your management goals, priorities, and abilities. Management thresholds will differ depending on what plant species you encounter as well as your objectives. For example, do you wish to prevent the plant’s spread or completely eliminate it from the property as might be the case for certain exotic invasive plant species.
  3. begin pest plant control measures. Use as many IVM practices as practical in concert with each other. These will include cultural, manual/mechanical, biological, and chemical practices.
  4. evaluate the results. Keep accurate records and modify the pest management program as needed.

Integrated Vegetation Management Principles

Whether to control a plant depends upon species, abundance, stage of stand development, and landowner objectives.

  • Preserving desirable plants is very important. They provide a service by occupying space that might otherwise support interfering plants.
  • Interfering plants are a form of “pollution.” Particularly, if they are non-native and invasive.
  • A responsible forest landowner/manager keeps interfering plants under control and from spreading onto adjacent properties.

    (The above principles revised from A. Gover and J. Johnson, Implementing Integrated Vegetation Management on Pennsylvania’s Roadsides, Penn State Roadside Vegetation Management Project, 2000)

    Japanese Barberry
    Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and other exotic invasive plants reduce native plant and wildlife diversity.

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    Integrated Vegetation Management

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