Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Invasive Grass May Impede Forest Regeneration

Date:
April 11, 2007
Source:
Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service
Summary:
The non-native invasive grass Microstegium vimineum may hinder the regeneration of woody species in southern forests. This grass, commonly called Nepalese browntop or Japangrass, was first identified in 1919 near Knoxville, Tennessee, where it was inadvertently introduced in packing material for porcelain china. Since then, the grass has spread across the southern States, flourishing on floodplains and streamsides and displacing native vegetation.

Microstegium can form dense organic mats in the forest understory.
Credit: Chris Oswalt, US Forest Service

The nonnative invasive grass Microstegium vimineum may hinder the regeneration of woody species in southern forests. Chris and Sonja Oswalt (Forest Service Southern Research Station) and Wayne Clatterbuck (University of Tennessee) set up experiments on a mixed-hardwood forest in southwest Tennessee to study the growth of the invasive grass under different levels of forest disturbance.

M. vimineum, commonly called Nepalese browntop or Japangrass, was first identified in 1919 near Knoxville, Tennessee, where it was inadvertently introduced in packing material for porcelain china. Since then, the grass has spread across the southern States, flourishing on floodplains and streamsides and displacing native vegetation.

"Microstegium can invade and persist in the low-light conditions of interior forests, making excellent use of short bursts of sunlight," says Chris Oswalt. "It can also flourish in the full light conditions that follow many canopy disturbances."

While working on a larger oak regeneration study at The Ames Plantation in southwest Tennessee, the researchers noticed a dramatic increase in Microstegium after silviculture treatments that opened the forest canopy. To test whether the grass would negatively impact the regeneration of native woody species, they conducted a separate set of studies nested within the silvicultural study with treatments that ranged from no disturbance to complete canopy removal.

After a season of monthly vegetation measures on a total of 720 plots, the researchers found that although Microstegium biomass did not differ significantly among silviculture treatments, there was a significant difference between treated and undisturbed plots, with Microstegium biomass 2 to 10 times greater in disturbed plots. They also found that the species richness of native woody species on the disturbed plots declined as the percent of Microstegium cover increased.

"We found that when exposed to sunlight, Microstegium can grow rapidly, often forming thick organic mats on the forest floor that directly impede the regeneration of native woody species by blocking sunlight, and indirectly by blocking seeds from reaching the soil in order to germinate," says Chris Oswalt. "This grass, which can be easily overlooked in the understory, should be given more attention by both researchers and land managers."

Study results were published online in the journal Forest Ecology and Management on March 27, 2007. Funding and support for the study was provided by the University of Tennessee Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, where Chris Oswalt is a Ph.D. candidate, the Southern Research Station and The Hobart Ames Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service. "Invasive Grass May Impede Forest Regeneration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409164839.htm>.
Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service. (2007, April 11). Invasive Grass May Impede Forest Regeneration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409164839.htm
Southern Research Station - USDA Forest Service. "Invasive Grass May Impede Forest Regeneration." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070409164839.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins