The invasive plant debate: a horticultural perspective.
This complexity of the invasive plant debate, while exacerbated by a lack of scientific understanding, stems from multiple, often conflicting perspectives. Facets of the invasive plant debate include a long list of vested individuals, organizations, business and academic entities, government agencies, major stakeholders (including the industries of agronomy, nursery, landscape, forestry, ranching and recreation), environmental scientists, and numerous organizations involved with land management issues, land conservation and land preservation. Such a convergence of divergent perspectives gives rise to a continual, sometimes contentious, debate between vested interests. The principle of invasion ecology correlates the probability of invasion success with a species' initial population size and the geographic spread of introduction attempts. When applicable, aspects of the plant debate are presented in the context of ornamental plants and the nursery industry that produces them since this industry is largely responsible for importing a significant portion of the introduced invasive plant species. To understand the role that the horticulture industry plays in the invasive plant debate, the debate must be viewed in the context of various biological, economic, horticultural and regulatory aspects. These aspects are sufficiently diverse, often intricate and interactive, and contentious enough to pose a substantial barrier to a debate resolution. This review covers these aspects and show how they constitute the overall, and specifically the horticultural portion, of the debate.