Long Term Trends Indicate that Invasive Plants are Pervasive and Increasing in Eastern National Parks

(Oct 2020) – This study used the U.S. National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program data collected from over 1,400 permanent forest plots spanning 12 yr and covering 39 eastern national parks to analyze invasive plant trends. Present in over 30% of plots and responsible for the steepest and greatest number of significant increases, Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) was the most aggressive invader in our study and is a high management priority. Invasive shrubs, especially Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), and wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius), also increased across multiple parks, and sometimes at the expense of Japanese stiltgrass. Given the added risks to human health from tick‐borne diseases, invasive shrubs are a high management priority.  Article

Invasive Grasses May Promote Wildfires

(Nov 4, 2019) Invasive grasses may worsen wildfires.  Japanese stiltgrass has invaded our forests and after the growing season creates a layer of dead grass. This grass can result in an “unnatural fire” that allows flames to reach the canopy level. This is quite different from the natural fires we think of as being necessary to renew the forest.
Research Article
Science Daily

Seed Longevity and Dormancy State – Ailanthus altissima

(May 8, 2019) Long-term seed dormancy potentially facilitates Ailanthus invasion by buffering against extended canopy closure or allowing passive dispersal with the movement of soil. Complete eradication of a population will depend on the elimination of the soil seed bank, which may require many years. Management should avoid creating canopy openings near existing populations with the goal of suppressing sexual reproduction and seedling establishment.  Abstract

When Invasive Plants Take Root, Native Animals Pay the Price

(Aug 7, 2019) Jacob Barney, associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, graduate researcher Becky Fletcher, and a team of five other doctoral students conducted the first-ever comprehensive meta-analytic review examining the ecological impacts of invasive plants by exploring how animals – indigenous and exotic – respond to these nonnative plants. Their study, which took place over a two-year period, is published in the journal Global Change BiologyFull Article with links to the Study

Shenandoah National Park – Invasive Plant Management Successes & Challenges

(Jul 2019) Jake Hughes, Biologist (Invasive Plants/Restoration) shares some of the successes his team has had at the Park and their management strategy.

Click to view the slide pack 

Analysis Finds US Ecosystems Shifting Hundreds Of Miles North

(July 1, 2019) – Researchers used 50 years of data on bird distributions and concluded that ecosystems have shifted northward by hundreds of miles. The data suggests that climate change and other phenomena are at play.  Full Article

Artificial Intelligence and Google Street View Could Hold The Key To Stopping Invasive Plants

(June 20, 2019) – Invasive plants can quickly damage ecosystems, cause economic hardships for farmers and pose health risks to the public, but regulators tasked with halting their progress often have limited resources. So, scientists at Rochester Institute of Technology are turning to street-view imagery and artificial intelligence to make tracking the spread of invasive plant species along roads more manageable.  Full Article

Nonnative Pear Trees Are Showing Up In US Forests

(June 28, 2019) –  Once a suburban favorite, Callery pear trees are now out-competing many local trees, a biologist warns.  Full Article

Biological Control Of Tree-of-Heaven

(Apr 18, 2019) This webinar by Rachel Brooks was sponsored by the Virginia Master Naturalist program and Virginia Cooperative Extension.  The presentation focuses on research to evaluate biological control options for the invasive tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima).  You’ll hear background information on biological control and why it’s an appropriate option for Ailanthus.

Click to watch the webinar

Biological Traits Predict Spread of Invasive Plants

(Nov 11, 2018) – Research shows that biological traits can help predict the spread of invasive plants. The results showed that non-native plants are more likely to become invasive when they possess biological traits that are different from the native community and that plant height can be a competitive advantage.  Full Article

Similarity of Introduced Plant Species to Native Ones Facilitates Naturalization, but Differences Enhance Invasion Success

(Nov 6, 2018) To become invasive, established alien species need to be different enough to occupy novel niche space, i.e. the edge of trait space. Open Access Article

Here’s The Dirt – Latest Recommendations for Garlic Mustard

(2018) The latest research for Garlic Mustard recommends to pull in early spring especially tackling younger invasive sites.  Be sure to remove any seeds from the site, and repeat treatments annually.  Read Full Article