Exotic Plants are Invading Southeastern Forests
Millions of acres of forest land in the Southeast are being occupied increasingly by non-indigenous harmful plants--exotic invasive plants. They are called exotic invasive plants, because these plants from other continents invade areas in the U.S. faster and more completely than most native species. Invasive exotic plants impede forest productivity, hinder forest-use activities, and limit diversity and wildlife habitat on millions of acres of forest land in the Southeast. Infestations of these plants and their range are constantly expanding. The actual infested acreage and spread rates of encroaching exotic plants are surprisingly unknown, even though this information is essential for planning eradication and containment strategies for the region. Kudzu and Japanese honeysuckle alone occupy over 7 million acres each and their spread rates are obviously increasing. Exotic plant biopollution threatens plant and animal biodiversity across the landscape and continues to capture our highly valued nature preserves and recreational lands. All federal parks and forest lands in the Southeast have exotic infestations. The current problems with exotic imports grows worse with no foreseeable declines.