Plant Invasions Across the United States: Patterns and Clues

Garlic mustard, Japanese stiltgrass, Oriental bittersweet, and other non-native invasive plants are creeping across backyards, parks, forests, and roadsides throughout the southeastern U.S. Scientists are still trying to understand what drives their relentless spread. Invasions are often assessed by measuring species richness, or the number of non-native species known to grow in a certain area.…  More 

Field Guide to Invasive Plants in Southern Forests

The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station publication A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests provides a comprehensive identification guide to nonnative trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns and forbs currently invading forests and other natural areas of the southeastern United States. The information included in the guide is also available as an…  More 

Invasive Tallowtree Widespread in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and Gulf Coast

Nonnative, invasive plant species pose a threat to forest resources throughout the South. Increasingly, nonnative plants infiltrate landscapes, eroding and replacing native plant communities. This can have irreversible and degrading effects on critical, human-sustaining ecosystems. Tallowtree (Triadica sebifera) is one of the most pervasive exotic tree species in the South and is known to replace entire stands…  More 

Mississippi Alluvial Valley Forests: The Next 50 Years

The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started in 2008 as an effort to study and understand the various forces reshaping the forests across the 13 states of the Southeast. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station (SRS) along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the project examined a variety…  More 

Controlling Cogongrass

Has cogongrass invaded your land? The first step—and the easiest—is identification. Cogongrass has some features that make it fairly easy to identify. Compared to the deep green hues of other grasses typically found in the South, the leaves of cogongrass appear yellowish green, and the white upper midrib of the leaves tends to be slightly…  More 

Good News for Eradicating Cogongrass in the South

Over the past decade, U.S. Forest Service researchers have been working with university cooperators to find some way to slow down or stop the relentless spread of cogongrass. This last fall, Auburn University researchers reported results that demonstrate, for the first time, that patches of cogongrass can be eliminated completely within three years — showing…  More 

The Role of Humans in U.S. Plant Invasions

Plant breeders have produced hybrids for centuries, maybe even millennia, crossing genetically different varieties or species to accentuate desired traits. Plants continuously hybridize on their own, either within populations of their own species or across species, families, and even genera. As exotic introduced plants began aggressively spreading into areas where they weren’t wanted, plant biologists…  More 

Coastal Plain Forests: The Next 50 Years

What will our Southern coastal forests look like in 50 years? With a myriad of factors involved—including climate change, population growth, economic outlooks, and more—it’s not a simple question. However, forest researchers have provided what they believe is a comprehensive answer to that question in the new general technical report Outlook for Coastal Plain Forests. The…  More 

Interrrupting an Invasional Meltdown

Earthworms have been described as “ecosystem engineers” because they can transform soil environments in ways – physical, chemical, and biological – that in turn lead to aboveground ecological changes. Most of the 8,000 species of the world’s earthworms stay in areas where they evolved, some occupying very narrow niches, but about 120 “cosmopolitan” or “peregrine”…  More 

The Invasion of Southern Forests by Nonnative Plants

The Southern Forest Futures Project (SFFP) started in 2008 as an effort to study and understand the various forces reshaping the forests across the 13 states of the Southeast. Chartered by the U.S. Forest Service Southern Region and Southern Research Station along with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the project examines a variety of…  More