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 

With Privet Gone, Native Plants and Pollinators Return

Forests infested with privet invoke a kind of despair in people attuned to the problem of invasive plants. Privet invades a forest quickly, sprawling across the understory and growing into thickets that crowd out native plants and change the very ecology of an area. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a…  More 

Cogongrass Invades the South

It grows on every continent except Antarctica and has earned a reputation as one of the worst weeds on earth. Now, according to U.S. Forest Service emeritus scientist Jim Miller, cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is one of the most threatening invasive species in the South. Native to Southeast Asia, cogongrass was accidentally introduced in the United…  More 

Why is Cogongrass So Successful at Invading the South?

In the South, many of our forests are crowded with invasive plants—English ivy, privet, oriental bittersweet and kudzu—to name just a few. These plants can often edge out the natives, reducing the diversity of understories and altering forests. Understanding how these plants arrived in the southeastern United States and adapted to thrive in local conditions…  More