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Lag times, in terms of invasive species, are the amount of time between the introductions of a species and when the population of that species increases to a size that will become invasive. The amount of time will vary for different species and it is also impacted by factors including detection, invasion pressures (the frequency of invasion pressures), varying environmental factors, and the method of dispersal.[1]

Lag times can hinder or alter the prioritization of managing invasive species because an invasive that was not originally being managed for could suddenly become a high priority for management and control within a particular area. It is very hard to identify a potential invasive species as being in its lag period, and it is often not until after its population becomes established and spreads that it becomes detected.[2]


  1. Niemiera, A. (2009). Invasive Plants -- A horticulture perspective. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-080/426-080.html
  2. Larkin, D. (2011). Lengths and correlates of lag phases in upper-Midwest plant invasions. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from https://www.chicagobotanic.org/downloads/staff/larkin/Larkin2012-LagPhases-BiolInv.pdf

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