Roads as a dispersal vector for Japanese Stiltgrass

Japanese Stiltgrass was introduced to Tennessee in 1919 as a result of its initial use as a packaging material for porcelain transport. The invasive plant has now spread throughout multiple east coast states and is threatening others. Thus, management plans must be erected in order to stop or slow its progression. My project focuses on sampling for Japanese Stiltgrass along roadsides of various densities at randomly generated points using GIS. The idea being that since traffic serves as an important dispersal vector for invasive plant seeds, there should be more Japanese Stiltgrass along higher density roads. Also, constant management of higher density roads facilitates Japanese Stiltgrass invasion as well, as it disturbs the native species. Nonetheless, if the plant is present at a point, I will walk into the surrounding habitat a set distance in order to determine how far it has spread from the roadside. Species diversity in the surrounding habitat will also be noted by placing a transect every 5 meters. As a result, if my prediction is correct, those in charge of management programs will be able to direct their efforts to areas shown to be more prone to invasion. [Read more…]