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NWRC Coastal Prairie Research Program

Invasive Species

Chinese Tallow Invasive species are recognized as being one of the greatest threats to conservation, management, and restoration of coastal prairie natural resources. Because of the tremendous loss and degradation of habitat in the region, the remaining fragments are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects from invaders that directly attack or compete with native biota, alter fire regimes, increase the cost or difficulty of management, and/or alter natural ecosystem processes. Natural resource managers in the region currently expend considerable time and resources combatting invaders that have moved into the coastal prairie. In addition to these well-recognized problems, there is a host of new and potential invaders that may pose increasing and future problems.

Our goals are

(1) to understand the mechanisms and consequences of invasion,
(2) to facilitate prevention and control of unwanted invaders, and
(3) to forecast future problems that may be posed by recent or new invasions.

A List of Some of the Most Troublesome Invasive Plants of Coastal Prairie Grasslands:

Scientific Name Common Name
Bothriochloa ischaemum King's Ranch bluestem
Cynodon dactylon Bermudagrass
Dichanthium annulatum Kleberg bluestem
Dichanthium aristatum Angleton bluestem
Eragrostis lehmanniana Lehmann's lovegrass
Imperata cylindrica Cogongrass
Paspalum notatum Bahiagrass
Paspalum urvillei Vaseygrass
Pennisetum ciliare Buffelgrass
Rosa bracteata Macartney rose
Rottboellia cochinchinensis Itchgrass
Sorghum halepense Johnsongrass
Tamarix sp. Salt cedar
Triadica sebifera (a.k.a. Sapium sebiferum) Chinese tallow
Urochloa maxima Guineagrass

Coastal Prairies and wetlands are also being invaded by exotic animal species. One such animal is the nutria (Myocastor coypus). Nutria are basically herbivorous and marsh loss has coincided with the introduction and expansion of the population in Maryland and along the Gulf Coast region.

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