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Invasive Plants and Forest Management


Invasive Plants and Forest Management Nancy J. Loewenstein School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Auburn University * * * * * * * * * Bradford pear (Pyrus ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Invasive Plants and Forest Management

Invasive Plants and Forest Management
  • Nancy J. Loewenstein
  • School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
  • Auburn University

Prevention the best invasive plant control
  • Awareness
  • Avoid introductions.
  • Avoid spreading propagules.
  • Minimize soil disturbance and creating situations
    favorable to invasive species.
  • Contain and treat new invasions

Early detection and control will minimize effort
and cost!!!
  • Native plants
  • natural elements of a regional landscape
  • plants that have been here since before European

  • Non-native plants
  • Introduced on purpose or accidentally
  • includes many agricultural and ornamental plants

UGA photos courtesy of
  • Invasive plants
  • have escaped cultivation and become weedy
  • non-native invasives are of particular concern
    when they displace native plants and impact
    ecosystem processes.
  • natives can be invasive, but usually at a much
    smaller scale

Why are some species invasive?
Characteristics of invasive plants
  • Competitive
  • Large leaf area
  • Rapid growth rate
  • Often in dense stands
  • Strong reproductive pressure
  • Early maturity
  • Prolific seed production
  • Vegetative reproduction
  • Tolerant and adaptive
  • Rapid response to disturbance
  • Release from natural enemies
  • Hybrid vigor

lag phase
  1. After introduction, invasive species populations
    often remain low for many years (or decades).
  2. An explosive growth phase then follows and the
    plant becomes apparent as a problem.
  3. Eventually, a density is reached where growth is
    slowed due to full use of available resources.

Impacts of invasive plants
  • Ecosystem structure and functioning
  • Light availability
  • Water use and availability
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Disturbance regimes (e.g., type, frequency,
    intensity, duration)
  • Native biodiversity (plants, insects, birds,
  • Forest regeneration
  • Productivity
  • Management options
  • Recreational value
  • Aesthetics
  • Economic costs

Occupation of Alabamas Forests by Invasive
Plants James H. Miller and Erwin Chambliss, US
Forest Service RD Auburn Preliminary Estimate of
Actual Acres Covered (SRS FIA) Japanese
Honeysuckle 2,922,547 Acres Privet 902,215 Acres
61,295 Acres Japanese Climbing Fern
43,709 Acres Cogongrass 43,889 Acres Mimosa /
Silktree 34,945 Acres Tallowtree 22,505
Acres Nonnative Roses 20,837 Acres Chinaberry 13,4
96 Acres Asian Wisterias 12,380
Acres Princesstree 2,284 Acres Tropical soda
apple 1,710 Acres
Invasive tendencies abundant propagules
Activities that can promote establishment of
invasive plants
  • Removal of native vegetation
  • Soil disturbance
  • Release of nutrients
  • Increased light to understory
  • Off-site equipment
  • Mechanical damage
  • Harvesting
  • Mechanical site prep
  • Tree planting
  • Release treatments
  • Prescribed fire
  • Internal road construction
  • Food plots

Soil disturbance an opportunity for invasive
plant establishment
  • Inventory for invasive plants.
  • Begin activities in uninfested areas.
  • Avoid or minimize movement
  • through infested areas.
  • Retain relatively closed canopies.
  • Monitor infested areas following
  • completion of activities treat as
  • needed.
  • Quarantine soil from infested area to
  • prevent off-site spread.

Off-site Material and Equipment Invasive plants
can be introduced and spread by bringing
infested equipment and other material on site
  • Clean all equipment before and after
  • Inspect material sources at site of
  • origin
  • Inspect areas where off-site material
  • is used.
  • Incorporate invasive plant prevention
  • into management activities road
  • work, fire lines, food plots, etc.
  • Perform maintenance from uninfested
  • to infested areas.

Pine Straw Production
Bales and equipment from infested stands can
foster the widespread distribution of invasive
Wildlife Enhancement
Wildlife enhancement practices are a common
avenue for invasive plant introductions, either
via contaminated equipment or intentional
Streamside Management Zones
SMZs can be refuges for invasive plants which can
spread into adjacent lands.
Land Use Conversion
A plant that was a minor pest in the previous
land use may not be inhibited by the current
management practices and suddenly expand its
population drastically.
Early Detection through Monitoring
Monitor disturbed habitats for newly established
invasive plants
  • Sites to monitor include
  • Food plots
  • Cut-over lands
  • Roadsides
  • Stream sides
  • Recently flooded areas
  • Storm damaged areas
  • Internal roads and trails
  • Firebreaks
  • Burned areas
  • Rights-of-way
  • Fencerows

An ounce of prevention
  • Learn about non-native invasive plants.
  • Avoid introductions.
  • Choose landscaping plants wisely.
  • Avoid use of contaminated mulch and pine straw.
  • Clean clothing, boots, equipment and vehicles.
  • Dispose of plant material properly.
  • Minimize soil disturbance and creating situations
    favorable to invasive species.
  • Maintain desirable species.
  • Contain and treat new infestations
  • early detection and treatment will minimize
  • effort and cost!

Some species of particular concern to forest
cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica)
Federal and Class A Noxious Weed
  • Perennial grass (1-5) often
  • growing in dense mats
  • Long yellowish-green leaves with
  • off-center midvein and
  • scabrous edges
  • No apparent stem
  • Rhizomes sharp-tipped and
  • white-scaly
  • Full sun - partial shade
  • Highly flammable
  • Spreads by rhizomes and
  • wind-blown seeds
  • Often in circular infestations
  • Invades ROWs, pastures,
  • plantations, new forests, old
  • fields, urban

For more info http//
Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum)
Class B Noxious Weed
  • Perennial fern vine
  • Stem is slender but difficult to break, fronds
    highly dissected
  • Forms dense mats and walls
  • Tolerant of wide range of moisture and light
    conditions, not particularly cold or drought
  • Spread by rhizome growth, wind-dispersed spores
    and spores in pine straw and on equipment
  • Infests stream margins, ROWs, forest edges, new
    plantations, urban

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Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense)
  • Semi-evergreen to evergreen shrub
  • Can form dense thickets
  • Tolerant of shade and full sun, moist to dry
  • Spread by root sprouts and abundant
    bird-dispersed seed
  • Infests riparian forests, fence rows, ROWs,
    fields, urban
  • Several related species

Japanese and glossy privet (Ligustrum japonicum
and L. lucidum)
Chinese tallow tree, popcorn tree (Triadica
  • Ornamental deciduous tree, originally introduced
    for seed oil
  • Alternate, diamond-shaped leaves, nice fall color
  • Tolerant of shade, flooding and saline water
  • Allelopathic properties and dense growth make
    this a severe threat
  • Spreads through prolific seed production and root
  • Invades riparian and upland forests, wetlands,
    pastures, urban

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silverthorn, thorny olive (Elaeagnus pungens)
  • Ornamental evergreen, bushy shrub
  • Thick leaves with distinctive silver-brown scales
    on the undersides
  • Tolerant of shade, drought and salt
  • Spread by animal- and bird-dispersed seed and
    stem sprouts
  • Forest edges, forest understory, ROWs, riparian
    forests, pastures, urban

bush honeysuckles (Lonicera maakii, Lonicera x
bella, L. morrowii, L. frangrantissima)
  • Tardily deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub, often
    with arching stems
  • Opposite leaves, hollow stems
  • Relatively shade tolerant
  • Spread by bird- and animal-dispersed seed and
    root sprouts
  • Can form dense thickets
  • Big problem in north Alabama (privet of the
  • Infests open forests, edges, pastures, ROWs,

Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum)
Class C Noxious weed
  • Annual grass, shade-tolerant but promoted by
    increased light
  • Typically on moist soils in the forest understory
  • Forms very dense stands
  • Prolific seed production spread by flood waters
    and soil disturbance
  • Invades riparian forests, trail and roadsides,
    damp fields, lawns

Tropical soda apple (Solanum viarum)
Federal and Class A Noxious Weed
  • Thorny, perennial sub-shrub (3-6) in the tomato
  • Large, dark green leaves with thorns projecting
    from the whitish midveins and petioles
  • Mottled green round fruit which turn yellow when
    ripe each contain hundreds of seeds
  • Can be confused with horse nettle
  • Open to somewhat shady sites
  • Spread by wildlife and livestock, contaminated
    seed, hay and machinery

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Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Ornamental deciduous tree
  • Bradford variety has sterile fruits but more
    recent cultivars and/or hybrids produce viable
  • Best in full sun but tolerates partial shade,
    wide range of soil types and conditions
  • Invades natural areas, disturbed areas, riparian
    forests, urban

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Early
Detection and Distribution Mapping System