Do Roads Drive Forest Plant Invasions?


Road_and_farm_LKorhnak_InterfaceSouth.jpgRoads provide a means for moving people and products, but they can also allow hitchhiking organisms to spread. Some exotic invasive plants thrive on the disturbance created by road construction that displaces native plants. However, a new study led by Center research ecologist Kurt Riitters and published in Diversity and Distributions found that the presence of a road may be less important than the presence of farms and other human activities. “In the eastern U.S., a third of all forested areas are within 650 feet of a road, and invasive plants are found on half of the plots monitored by the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program,” says Riitters. “While there is little doubt that roads are linked to forest plant invasions at local scales, effective resource conservation at regional scales requires an understanding of other factors linked to both roads and invasions across the larger landscape.” Read more in CompassLive...

Pictured: Researchers found that land use within ‘road effect zones’ is an important predictor of forest plant invasions. Photo by Larry Korhnak, InterfaceSouth.


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