Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) - to identify and control the invasive plant species that severely impact native biodiversity

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The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) has taken another significant step in the recovery of native vegetation and habitats on the landscape across the 25 NBCI states with the release of a new decision-making tool, NatiVeg, NBCI Director Don McKenzie announced today.


“With restoration of native grasses, wildflowers and shrubs across the landscape being a critical means to the recovery of bobwhite, grassland bird and pollinator populations, NBCI’s NatiVeg will make it significantly easier for landowners and resource managers to select the right native plants for their specific location and specific purpose,” said  McKenzie.


NatiVeg (www.quailcount.org/NatiVeg) is a remote, Internet-based tool that works on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Developed by NBCI and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Information Technology Service and beta-tested by a variety of outside reviewers, NatiVeg is a database that, within the 25-state initiative’s range, delivers the proper native plant choices for a specific location and the user’s specific purposes, whether wildlife, forage, biomass, pollinators, critical area planting, restoration or soil conservation. That location can be specified either manually or by a connected mobile device’s GPS system. And the provided recommendations discriminate, for instance, between a big bluestem grass adapted to Texas and one adapted to Alabama based on location.


An eight-month project, NBCI first captured the database for the 126 Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Major Land Resource Areas (eco-regions) for the 25 NBCI states and secured the NRCS database of plant materials identified as suitable for conservation purposes. NBCI deleted from that list all non-native species, tree species and other species not applicable to the NBCI states, leaving only native grasses, shrubs, forbs and legumes in an eventual 306-species menu. NBCI then folded in a plant hardiness zone database into the mix.  Also provided is a species “Location Assistance” button that delivers information from the respective state wildlife agency, including contact information for experts.


“There are still shortcomings to overcome,” McKenzie said. “For instance, there are many plants that NRCS has not done any work with, so are not included. In addition, there won’t be as many choices east of the Mississippi River because NRCS has worked more on western species. So, NatiVeg is a work in progress.


“We encourage landowners and resource managers to check out this new tool,” McKenzie said, “to help improve their native grassland restoration efforts, and we ask for feedback from users, to help NBCI continually improve this unique wildlife conservation service.”


For questions and more specific information, contact NBCI Grasslands Coordinator Jef Hodges at [email protected] or at 660-351-2766.

Missouri Prairie Journal articles added to Resource Pages

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The Missouri Prairie Foundation has been publishing the Missouri Prairie Journal since 1979. Print magazines are sent to Missouri Prairie Foundation members as a benefit of membership.

Among the hundreds of articles published over the years, several relate to the management of invasive plant species that affect prairie natural communities. The following articles have been added to the Management and Identification Guides page in Missouri Invasive Plant Species Task Force’s resource section:

Digitized articles from all Missouri Prairie Journal volumes since 2003 are available here.

Research Shows Downy Brome Has Developed Fire-Survival Traits

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LAWRENCE, Kansas – Research featured in the latest edition of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management shows that the weed downy brome has developed fire-survival traits that are changing local growing conditions and making it impossible for native competitors to survive.

Downy brome has invaded millions of acres of arid grasslands in the western United States. As a winter annual, it finishes its life cycle by spring or early summer – several weeks before native grass species. The dried downy brome offers a large horizontal mass that can fuel frequent fires and help them quickly spread.

Researchers in the U.S. and Europe compared downy brome from the fire-prevalent U.S. Great Basin with populations of downy brome in Central Europe, where fires are rarely experienced. They discovered that U.S. populations of the weed produce seeds with a greater fire tolerance. The seedlings perform better in post-fire environments, produce more above-ground tissue and are more flammable than populations of downy brome in Central Europe.

“The increased flammability of downy brome in the U.S. and its greater aboveground plant mass promote earlier, more frequent fires of low intensity,” says Annamária Fenesi, a senior lecturer at Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania. “While downy brome thrives under those conditions, native species that have adapted to a much longer interval between fires are simply unable to recover. As a result, downy brome is able to thrive and spread, free of competition.”

Full text of the article “Enhanced Fire-Related Traits May Contribute to the Invasiveness of Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum)” is available in Volume 9, Issue 3 of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management.

About Invasive Plant Science and Management

Invasive Plant Science and Management is a journal of the Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society focused on weeds and their impact on the environment.  The publication focuses on invasive plant species. To learn more, visit www.wssa.net.


Midwest Invasive Plant Network Hiring Coordinator

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The Midwest Invasive Plant Network’s (MIPN) mission is to reduce the impact of invasive plant species in the Midwest. This position (MIPN Coordinator) will be responsible for facilitating the activities of MIPN with support from the board of directors. Activities will include providing leadership in developing programs, obtaining funding, facilitating information development and exchange, and coordinating regional efforts that minimize the impact invasive plants have on Midwest region’s economy, environment, and human health and other activities required to maintain the functionality of MIPN. The Coordinator will work closely with the MIPN Board of Directors to ensure short and long-term goals are achieved. The Coordinator also will work with public and private agencies, conservation groups, scientists, green industry, land managers, and landowners to advance MIPN and reduce the threat of invasive plant species to conservation targets in the Midwest.

Click here to download job announcement and application details.

Citizen Science Opportunity: Shady Invaders through the National Phenology Network

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Illustration from Nature's Notebook.

Illustration from Nature’s Notebook.

An invitation from Eryn Maynard to do Citizen Science:

I lived in St. Louis for a couple of years doing invasive plant research at Washington University. I went on a few native plant walks with your WGNSS-Botany Group. It came up in conversation fairly regularly that invasive shrubs tend to leaf out earlier and keep their leaves later than native shrubs. I’m now working on my PhD at Penn State exploring the occurrence and potential impacts of this extended leaf phenology of invasives. I’m trying to get a regional perspective on this, and so have started a citizen science data collection campaign called Shady Invaders through the National Phenology Network. The landing page contains the species lists and links on how to start collecting data. Datasheets can be printed or there’s also an app for mobile devices. Please help spread the word.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Erynn Maynard, PhD Candidate

Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology

Forest Resources Building 220
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802

[email protected]

Multiyear Study Evaluates Control Options for Swallowwort Vines

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LAWRENCE, Kansas – April 5, 2016 – Scientists have just concluded a six-year study of potential controls for pale swallowwort and black swallowwort (Vincetoxicum spp.) – two perennial vines native to Europe that are invading habitats in northeastern North America.

To date, broad-spectrum herbicides have proved to be the most effective tool for managing the swallowworts. Many land managers, though, are concerned about the expense of herbicide treatments and the potential impact on native plant species in the areas being treated.

Researchers from Cornell University and the USDA Agricultural Research Service set out to determine whether defoliating swallowwort vines or mowing them would impact the growth, reproduction and survival of mature plants.

Researchers knew a long-term study would be needed to better predict results for a perennial plant like swallowwort. Their field experiments on the Cornell University campus documented six seasons of treatments of varying intensity.

They artificially defoliated swallowwort vines by 50 percent or 100 percent once or twice a year to simulate the impact of a leaf-feeding biological control agent. They also clipped vines once, twice or four times a year to simulate mowing.

In an article featured in the most recent edition of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management, researchers say none of the swallowwort plants died as a result of defoliation or clipping, even at maximum treatment levels. Black swallowwort produced more above-ground biomass, while pale swallowwort produced more root biomass and root crown buds, compared to the other species.  Clipping four times per season did eliminate swallowwort seed, but it didn’t destroy mature plants. Plants receiving other damage treatments continued to produce seed and increase in size.

“The lack of success using defoliation and mowing over a multiyear period means land managers will likely need to continue to use herbicides in order to fight swallowwort infestations effectively,” says Lindsey Milbrath, Ph.D., of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, lead researcher for the project.

Full text of the article “Tolerance of Swallowworts (Vincetoxicum spp.) to Multiple Years of Artificial Defoliation and Clipping” is available in Volume 9, Issue 1 of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management.

About Invasive Plant Science and Management

Invasive Plant Science and Management is a journal of the Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society focused on weeds and their impact on the environment.  The publication focuses on invasive plant species. To learn more, visit www.wssa.net.