Invasive Species and Forests


To support a science-based, proactive, and adaptive approach to the prevention, management, and control of invasive species in forests, including the sustainable restoration of forests impacted by these species. 


All introduced non-native insects, diseases, plants, and animals that cause environmental or economic harm to rural and urban forests, and the forest management and associated policies and partnerships addressing these invasive species.


The Society of American Foresters (SAF) recognizes that invasive species present one of the most significant and urgent threats to America’s forests, costing billions of dollars each year in economic and environmental damages. SAF supports a multi-tiered approach to invasive species management with prevention as the top priority. Further strategies should include risk assessments, eradication, control tactics including chemical and biocontrol, forest restoration, impact mitigation, research into forest genetics, and silvicultural management. Finally, support is needed for research aimed at increasing the effectiveness of each strategy to achieve more resilient forest lands. 

Specifically, SAF encourages all stakeholders including federal agencies, tribes, states, counties, municipalities, and private landowners to be vigilant in preventing the spread of, monitoring for, and responding to invasive species. Managers should plan their budgets and priorities to address operational prevention, eradication, and control measures, as well as increase public awareness about the threat invasive species pose to forests. Certification bodies should consider invasive species management as a criterion in evaluating sustainable forest management. SAF encourages careful, appropriate plant species selection and promotion to reduce the unintended introduction of invasive plant species. Regulatory bodies should consider stronger restrictions on the sale and distribution of known invasive species. In the pursuit of forest restoration, SAF also supports careful and appropriate tree improvement applications, including genomic selection or genetic modification techniques as mitigation strategies to improve native tree species’ resistance to established invasive threats.

Approved: December 2022

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Invasive Species and Forests
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Invasive Species
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