In the United States, only species listed on state or federal noxious weed lists are regulated. According to our analysis, these regulatory lists poorly represent invasive plants in unmanaged (i.e., nonagricultural) systems. To improve the representation of invasive plants on state regulatory lists, we recommend allocating listing authority to invasive species councils and provide guidance for the science-based reform of noxious weed lists. We also recommend commercial best practices to test for invasiveness prior to intentional introduction of new plant products. Finally, we introduce a negligence liability scheme to discourage the introduction of potential invaders. If adopted, our recommendations could benefit nonagricultural ecosystems and could have positive consequences for bioenergy producers and others in plant industry, who are under scrutiny for promoting potentially invasive species as energy crops. As the bioenergy industry gains momentum, a revised regulatory regime may alleviate the concerns regarding one potential negative consequence of novel plant introduction.
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Vol. 63 • No. 2