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The Impact of 3 exotic, invasive grasses in the Southeastern United States on wildlife


  • Associate Editor: Kuvlesky



Little is known about the impacts and effects of exotic, invasive grasses on wildlife in the Southeast United States. We selected 3 species of exotic grasses common to the Southeast and review the literature on their regional distribution, ecosystem impacts, wildlife impacts, and management. These grasses have the potential to harm indigenous wildlife species, such as northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), that need grasslands with a shrub component for nesting, brood-rearing, and loafing. These exotic, invasive grasses are sod-forming in nature, typically forming dense monotypic stands that provide little bare ground and have low plant species and insect diversity. Furthermore, it appears that wildlife do not prefer to consume these plant species. Control is often difficult and usually requires the use of herbicides in combination with mechanical treatment, such as disking, to provide adequate habitat. Attempts should be encouraged to convert these idle grasslands to a mixture of native grasses and forbs to make stands more suitable for wildlife species. We provide suggestions for future research and management needs regarding exotic, invasive grasses and wildlife in the Southeast United States. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.

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