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AVC fully understands the importance of continually integrating new chemistries and technologies for the purposes of reducing chemical usage, reducing non-target damage to existing habitats, and increasing effective treatment time. As one of the pioneering invasive plant control contractors, AVC is proud of its 37+ years of service dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in the field of invasive plant management in Florida. This service has included: gaining decades of field experience through trial and error; devoting company resources and scientists to research and development of herbicide mixes and treatment methods; collaboration with universities and clients in the refinement of herbicide mixes and methods; collaboration with herbicide manufacturers to identify susceptible target and non-target species for new chemistries before industry acceptance; identifying and integrating tracking and application monitoring technology; and applying this knowledge in professional organizations and community involvement.

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Invasive Plants in Natural Areas: Air Potato (Dioscorea bulbifera)

Stephen F. Enloe and Ken Langeland

Plants provide us with food and fiber, decorate our yards and gardens, and provide habitat for wildlife. However, when plants grow where they are not wanted, we call them weeds. To homeowners, weeds may be unwanted plants in lawns or gardens. To farmers, weeds are plants that interfere with raising crops or livestock. To biologists who manage natural areas, weeds are plants that interfere with the functions of natural communities.

Natural area weeds are often introduced plant species (a species brought to a new geographic area intentionally or unintentionally by humans) that have become established (a self-sustaining and reproducing population in a specified geographic area without the need for human intervention). When these species cause harm to humans or the environment, they are referred to as invasive species. Invasive plants are weeds that alter the functions and value of natural areas by outcompeting native species and disrupting ecosystem services. Air potato can do this by forming dense cover that blankets native vegetation, eventually displacing it. Natural area managers should remove invasive plant species such as air potato to maintain the integrity of natural areas.

Air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) has been recognized as a serious invasive plant species in Florida since the early 1990s. It was listed as a Category 1 invasive plant in 1993 by the Florida Invasive Species Council and was subsequently added to the Florida Noxious Weed List by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 1999 (5b-57.007 FAC). Plants on the Florida Noxious Weed List may not be introduced, possessed, moved, or released without a permit.

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Supported Organizations

Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society
Florida Invasive Species Council
Florida Vegetation Management Association
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation
North American Invasive Species Management Association
Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment
South Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society
American Public Works Association
 ABC Florida East Coast Chapter
Florida Association of Environmental Professionals