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Invasive Grass May Impede Forest Regeneration

[ North Carolina ] 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. 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.”

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes
www.southernsustainableforests.org

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