A regional scale study of invasive plant impacts of forest ecosystem

Invasive species, McIntire-Stennis Project, image of invasive plant in forest.The Central Hardwood Forest is one of the most important forest ecosystems in the eastern United States, providing valuable economic and recreational opportunities to the citizens of the region.

Invasive exotic plants are moving into these ecosystems, in some places reaching epidemic proportions. The long-term invasion of these plants and other pests can alter the composition and reduce the diversity of these ecosystems, resulting in dramatic declines in the wildlife habitat and diminished economic opportunities for the human inhabitants of these mostly rural regions.

This project seeks to provide understanding of these invasives and their impact on forest ecosystems and on soil organic carbon pools and temperature sensitivity.

Results include the identification of interactions between pests and tree diversity, the impact of forest structural diversity on the prevalence of invasives, and a model predicting invasives impact on a continental scale. This information is being shared with the public as well as the scientific community and natural resources professionals.

Collaboration for project, 5 journal articles in 2019.
Researchers from five educational institutions - Duke, Florida, NC State, Purdue and UC Davis - as well as from the USDA Forest Service have collaborated on this project
These individuals collaborated on five journal articles published in 2019
 
 
Project Director: Dr. Songlin Fei
10/01/2016 - 09/30/2021

Print/Research
Impact for project Invasive species in forest ecosystems, 255,000 employed in forestry related jobs, $1,300 invasive species cost per household, 83 nonnative pests are recognized to cause forest damage.
 
Forty percent of the total live biomass in U.S. forests is at risk for invasion by currently established pest species.
People are employed in forestry-related jobs in the Central Hardwood Forest region of the U.S.
Invasive species cost the American public about $1,300 per household each year
Nonnative pests are recognized to cause noticeable forest damage in the lower 48 states

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