The facilitation and impacts of Microstegium vimineum colonization in an eastern hardwood forestThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Microstegium vimineum is an annual, invasive Asian grass that occurs across the southeastern United States. Research on M. vimineum suggests there is a suite of environmental conditions that contribute to the species’ spread. We have synthesized the results of two studies that tested 1) the effects of winter litter disturbance on the spread of M. vimineum under various canopy conditions, and 2) the impacts that establishment and growth of M. vimineum have on woody species density and diversity. Plots with winter litter disturbance experienced M. vimineum expansion rates 4.5 times those measured in undisturbed plots. Native woody species density and diversity both decreased with increasing M. vimineum percent cover. Land managers who have found M. vimineum on the forestland they manage may benefit by removing the species prior to any site manipulation to avoid the plant’s spread and a subsequent decline in woody regeneration success.