Much of the eastern US is rapidly being invaded by the non-native grass Microstegium vimineum (stiltgrass), which first colonizes disturbed areas and along roads, trails, streams but also invades intact forests. This invader is being discovered in new locations and a rapid response to its early detection is critical to limiting its impact on natural areas. We will present data from multiple experiments that demonstrate the significant impacts of Microstegium on biodiversity and forest succession, and will provide an update on the pathogens that have been found accumulating on this invader. Removal of Microstegium from invaded sites can be accomplished efficiently using a grass-specific herbicide, which allows native species to return. We will share stories of early detection and rapid response to Microtegium by local and state groups and individuals, and will provide recommendations for identification and removal.Presenters:
Luke Flory: Luke is a plant community and ecosystem ecologist whose research broadly investigates the mechanisms and impacts of non-native plant invasions. Most recently, he has focused on invasions and climate change, effects of invasions on forest regeneration and plant communities, interactions of invasions with fire, and the potential long-term effects of emerging and accumulating pathogens on invaded plant communities. His lab group explores basic and applied plant ecology and agroecology questions in diverse systems, including deciduous forests in the eastern US, managed grassland systems in Florida, longleaf pine forests in the eastern US, 'novel ecosystems' in the Galapagos, and coffee production systems in the highlands of Costa Rica. Luke has published more than 20 papers on the mechanisms, impacts, and management of Microstegium.
James Odell & Andrea Matthies: How does an architectural historian and an IT consultant--one from Minnesota, the other from California--join in an American Gothic tableau on their prairie? For almost two decades, they have transformed five acres in Scio from a woodland of invasives and acres of lawn into a lovely natural landscape with 77 bird species and still too many deer. They have contributed to the local conversation about environmentally friendly landscaping through Ann Arbor Wild Ones--one as president, the other as tech support. This past summer they documented the first instance of Japanese stiltgrass in Michigan. With help from various individuals and groups, they eliminated every single stiltgrass from their property--at least for this season.
Greg Norwood: Greg is the invasive species coordinator for the Michigan DNR - Wildlife Division. He serves on the state's Terrestrial and Aquatic Invasive Species Core Teams and assists with invasive species management in Michigan. He was formerly a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Lisa Brush is the Executive Director of The Stewardship Network. Lisa has worked in the environmental field in Michigan for the last fifteen years. She is currently the Executive Director of the Stewardship Network and has been involved with the Network since its inception more than 10 years ago. She has a wealth of experience helping non-scientific people understand scientific issues. For over nine years, as she has built and coordinated The Stewardship Network, she has emphasized effective and meaningful stakeholder involvement in developing and implementing all aspects of this program. She has a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a B.A. (Science in Society) from Wesleyan University.