Plant Risk Evaluation (PRE) Tool

Each year, invasive plants cost California $82 million dollars in damages to natural areas, agriculture, and gardens. Nearly 50% of the invasive species were introduced into California as ornamentals. For this reason, Sustainable Conservation is working with the CCUH to test a tool for screening the invasive potential of ornamental plants.

The Plant Risk Evaluation (PRE) tool was developed as an adaptation of a border screening tool, which determines invasiveness of plants. It consists of 19 predictive questions about a species or cultivar to be answered with a comprehensive literature review. Questions are designed to understand the following:

  • History of invasiveness around the world
  • The native and introduced range of the plant
  • Plant behavior and demographics (growth, reproduction and dispersal)
  • Ecological characteristics (pest and disease problems, aggressiveness)

PRE is 98% and 95% accurate in determining invasive and noninvasiveness plant behavior, respectively.  Leading propagators and new plant developers are trialing the tool to determine where and how PRE provides value in the plant development process. Sustainable Conservation’s ultimate goal is to promote industry-wide adoption of the tool to assist breeders in developing improved plants with low invasive potential, thereby protecting growers’ investments.

Another PRE project is trialing an abbreviated version of the tool called the PRE-RS (Rapid Screening) to screen large inventories of plants. Over 3,000 plants common in the California ornamental trade will be screened.

For more information:

PRE Presentation at the 2014 Ecological Society of America Conference
PRE Presentation at the 2014 California Invasive Plant Council
PRE Presentation at the 2014 Plant Breeders Conference

PRE Presentation at the 2013 International Plant Propagators Society Western Regional Conference


Funding provided by: