Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies

Committee Chair

Dan Spencer

Commitee Members

Len Broberg, Brian Chaffin, Shawn Johnson


noxious weeds, backcountry, weed management, volunteer, monitoring


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies | Forest Management | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Weed Science


Noxious weeds have become a management priority on public lands in the United States. Managing invasive weed populations in natural areas with complex ecosystems presents issues that need a systems-wide approach over long temporal and spatial scales. This broad-scale problem increasingly demands collaborative efforts. While collaborative conservation has become a tool in natural resource management during the 21st century, it is less commonly applied in weed control in backcountry wilderness areas. Programs that have been initiated are understudied. Accordingly, this research was conducted through semi-structured interviews to gather perspectives of weed professionals involved in a collaborative backcountry weed program implemented in the Great Burn of Idaho to analyze partnership relations and performance. Additionally, perspectives gained from recreationist interviews are meant to supplement this partnership analysis and offer a potential for increasing the public’s capacity in the backcountry weed program. Finally, a framework for a monitoring program that examines the effects of herbicide control on targeted and non-targeted species was developed and implemented as a pilot program to inform future management. While several benefits exist to having multiple participants in weed control in the Great Burn, limitations in partner capacity, along with gaps in communication and knowledge sharing among partners, hinder program efficiency, strategy, and coordination. Based on conversations with recreational users, there exists an interest within the public to assist with weed management objectives. Incorporation of volunteer programs in weed management activities and the creation of standardized pathways for knowledge synthesis and transfer among partners are potential actions that could improve program effectiveness.



© Copyright 2021 Christopher James Prange