Invasive Plant Management in the North Carolina Sandhills
The North Carolina Sandhills Weed Management Area (NCSWMA) exists to help manage and control invasive plant species in the Sandhills region of North Carolina.A Weed Management Area is a partnership of federal, state and local government agencies; individuals; and various interested groups that cooperatively manage non-native invasive plant species in a defined area. Non-native invasive plant species (NIS) often called non-native, exotic, non-indigenous, alien, or noxious weeds, are species that did not previously exist in a given region and have been introduced by humans either deliberately or accidentally. NIS can naturalize and spread prolifically throughout natural areas; displace native flora; alter community structure; and water, energy, nutrient and disturbance cycles; which in turn causes loss of biodiversity; increased soil erosion; and degradation of threatened and endangered species habitat. NIS also can impact local economies when they degrade property values or otherwise affect land use and management.
With only five percent of the historic longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem remaining today, landowners in the North Carolina Sandhills play an important role in conserving rare species diversity. For example, five federally endangered species as well as numerous state listed species and federal species of concern occur within the region. Unfortunately, at least 51 NIS have already been confirmed to occur in the Sandhills of North Carolina. The number of NIS and infestations impacting the region will undoubtedly increase, given that an additional 27 are estimated to have the potential to become established. Working with the NCSWMA, you can help preserve the biodiversity and integrity of the natural communities in the region.