Research: Invasive Plants
Invasive plants, such as cogongrass and Chinese privet, continue to hinder forest management in the South and their control increasingly requires novel and integrated strategies involving chemical, silvicultural and biological methods. Research is being conducted on the impacts of invasive plants on ecological processes and community structure in natural and managed systems; biological control of Chinese privet; mitigating and preventing exotic plant invasions in Southern forest communities; and understanding the characteristics associated with successful biological invasions utilizing both population and landscape genetics.
Initial focus for much of this work is on cogongrass, an exotic, invasive, warm-season grass that negatively impacts both the ecology of natural systems and economics of the timber industry throughout the “woodbasket” of the South. Cogongrass populations throughout the Southern region and around the globe are currently being studied to determine invasion dynamics in the this region, and to identify the source of populations in the South and around the world.