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Southern Appalachian Invasive Pest Plant Assessment

220.gif - 136 BytesPart I—Literature Search and Bibliography--coming soon
220.gif - 136 BytesPart II—Gathering Non-Peer Reviewed Information--ongoing

Although, many natural resource professionals are becoming aware that invasive pest plants are infesting public lands, few believe that these pest plants are a severe threat to our native ecosystems. Some of the initiative's stakeholders not involved in land management also question the severity of the problem and the plants that have been identified as problems. As a result of the debate, SAMAB recognized the need for an assessment of the problem before public outreach plans could go forward.

Research on invasive pest plants has been conducted by numerous agencies in the Southern Appalachians including the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, and The Nature Conservancy. However, there has been no overall summation of this information to get a comprehensive measure of the impacts occurring on the native flora and fauna of the region. Partners in the Southern Appalachian Invasive Species Initiative recognize that the assessment could provide invaluable information. Without this information the initiative will not move forward with all the stakeholders and fall far short of its vision and goals. Moreover, without this cooperative effort, invasive pest plants will continue to invade natural areas of the Southern Appalachians.

The Southern Appalachian Man and Biosphere (SAMAB) program is coordinating an assessment of invasive pest plants in the Southern Appalachian region as part of the Southern Appalachian Native Plant and Invasive Pest Plant Initiative. The planned assessment will examine the extent of the problem and the need for coordinated action among public and private organizations to address associated issues. The assessment will also be a valuable public outreach tool. It will provide information for on-going invasive plant management on public and private lands and will elucidate what future research is needed. It will also detail the significance of the program for agency administrators and the need for monetary support for control efforts and public outreach.

The objectives of this assessment are to:

  • identify the species of exotic pest plants having significant detrimental impacts on the Southern Appalachian ecosystem,
  • learn the extent of their impact on native flora and fauna,
  • prioritize problems that require remedial action,
  • summarize means of control, and
  • summarize needs for research, education and restoration.

Researchers and land managers participating in this project include representatives from The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Southern Research Station, North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina, University of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

To date the literature search and bibliography and the gathering of the non-published information have been completed from funding and time-in-kind contributed by SAMAB partners including the USDA Southern Research Station, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the University of Tennessee, and the U.S. Forest Service.

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