February 25—March 3, 2019

National Invasive Species Awarness Week logo

Visit the National Invasive Species Awareness Week website

What SRS is doing to Combat this Threat

It is estimated that 50,000 animal and plant species in the United States are non-native, meaning they are not naturally found here. Approximately 5,000 are considered invasive because of the ecological and economic damages they cause. And this doesn’t include pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses! Southern Research Station researchers are on the front lines of identifying and coming up with ways to understand, control and manage the invasive species that threaten our nation’s forests and grasslands.

Cover of 'Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests'

Dr. Jim Miller’s Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests (PDF; 13.2 MB) is a favorite of foresters, garden club members and horticulturists throughout the South. More than 250,000 copies of the guide have been printed and distributed.

The University of Georgia created an iPhone app based on Miller’s guides: Want to Hunt Down Invasive Plants in Your Forest? There’s an App for That!

Cover of 'A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests'

Strategies for controlling plant invasions are available in A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests (PDF; 5.23 MB).

Bud Mayfield and other SRS researchers are working with the National Park Service and National Forests in North Carolina and Tennessee to start field testing a strategy that may help protect hemlocks: Sunlight vs. Hemlock Woolly Adelgids - Increased Sunlight may Help Infested Young Hemlocks.

Portrait of Bud Mayfield
Portrait of Qinfeng Guo

Just how big is the problem of invasive plants? Take a look at inventory data from the Forest Inventory and Analysis program in a presentation by Chris Oswalt and Qinfeng Guo: A Big-Picture View of the Invasive Plant Problem.

Bat populations have been decimated by the spread of a non-native fungus. The fungus causes white-nose syndrome, and has killed millions of bats since 2006. Sonja Oswalt led the development of the story map Fighting the Battle for the Bats, which discusses the Forest Service national strategy to control white-nose syndrome.

Portrait of Sonja Oswalt
Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) spreads along a forest trail. Researchers found evidence of biotic resistance to establishment and dominance of invasive plants in some forests of the East. Photo by Stephanie Worley Firley, U.S. Forest Service.

Researchers with the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center along with Kevin Potter, a North Carolina State University scientist, found that Native Trees Naturally Fight Invasives in Some Eastern Forests.

These are just a few of our research stories that highlight what we are doing to help land managers understand and slow or stop the introduction, spread and impacts of these damaging forests pests and plants. To learn more, visit and sign up for our online magazine, CompassLive.