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Invasive Species Invasive Plants

stupid KUDZUAcross Mississippi, invasive plants and animals damage wildlands, displace native plants, wildlife and pollinators, increase wildfire and flood danger, consume valuable water, degrade recreational opportunities, and destroy productive range and timber lands.

Origins
Both plants and animals that become invasive may be introduced purposely or accidentally. Most of the plants used in gardens and landscaping do not invade or harm wildland areas, but the potential is there for a small percentage of them. Multiflora rose and privet, both problematic invasives in the understory of Mississippi forests, are still cultivated in gardens today.

Other non-native species, like kudzu, were introduced for a specific purpose such as erosion control, but now have entire research programs aimed at their eradication. Many others may be accidentally introduced even with programs designed to prevent their entry. Examples of accidental introductions include aquatic invasives in ballast water, insects and seeds that arrive in packing material from overseas, or seeds carried across state lines on the boots of hikers and the tires of trucks.

The Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth (IPAMS) provides information on the biology, distribution, and best management practices for a select number of weedy plant species. The IPAMS system has a regional focus, and therefore focuses on the species that are prevalent in the MidSouth region. However, volunteers and data collectors are not limited to the MidSouth region nor to the plant species listed here. Collectors are encouraged to report any invasive plant species they might find, wherever they may be found.

The Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth (IPAMS) is a project of the Geosystems Research Institute (GRI), Mississippi State University. Mississippi State University created the institutional-level Geosystems Research Institute to combine and integrate academic and operational units active in conducting and coordinating research and educational activities in geospatial technologies and resource management - particularly agriculture, forestry, water resources, computational modeling, and visualization. More information regarding GRI is available at www.gri.msstate.edu.

The Geosystems Research Institute brings together faculty from 22 departments within 6 colleges/units within Mississippi State University. The GRI also collaborates with many community colleges, and focuses on agriculture, water resources, state and local government, and economic development.

Why are Invasive Species Bad?

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This 2nd edition of the NBCI’s annual “State of the Bobwhite” report provides the most comprehensive assessment ever compiled on the current state of bobwhite conservation in the US. Read More »


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ABSTRACT Barkbeetles (Coleoptera:Curculionidae:Scolytinae) have been an important historic and current factor affecting pine forest production in the southern United States. Although tree mortality to bark beetles often detracts from forest management goals, the natural role of barkbeetles is canopy opening, thinning, and diversification of stand structure and composition, effects that contribute to some ecosystem services in forests managed for multiple uses. Strategies to prevent barkbeetle outbreaks exploit their sensitivity to host tree spacing and reliance on pheromones to attract sufficient numbers to overwhelm tree defenses. Tree species selection at planting or through selective thinning can favor pine species that are more tolerant of site conditions and resistant to bark beetles. Precommercial or commercial thinning improves tree condition and creates barriers to beetle population growth and spread. Remedial options include  salvage harvest, pheromones for trap-out or disruption of host location, and white paint to disrupt the dark silhouette of the tree bole. Given the labor costs and trade-offs among tactics and the marginal profitability of fiber and timber production, harvest in advance of,or salvage harvest after, barkbeetle attack often is the favored management strategy. However, this strategy is not as appropriate in public forests managed for values provided by older, more vulnerable trees. High-value sites for cultural or endangered species protection may require use of more expensive management options. Read More »


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ExFor is an Internet-accessible database containing information on forest pests that can be used by workers worldwide. This document describes the guidelines to be followed by contributors to the ExFor database in evaluating exotic forest pests and in submitting background information to the database.

Regulatory and forest protection agencies, as well as researchers and field workers in forest health and related fields, will benefit from the ready availability of information on a wide variety of pests with potential to become established in North American forests. The information is presented in such a way as to be useful for many purposes. Although the emphasis in the pest risk assessment model developed for this project is on potential establishment and impact, information on pathways for introduction and means of dispersal is provided in the Pest Facts Sheets. It is anticipated that this information will prove useful for the assessment and management of introduced pests, wood products and other commodities from offshore sources.  

Go to ExFor

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The purpose of the Southern Region (R8) Non-Native Invasive Species Strategy is to provide an effective interdisciplinary framework to implement Non-Native Invasive Species (NNIS) management programs. The implementation will include R8 National Forests, State and Private Forestry, and Research and Development programs as applicable.

The goal of the R8 NNIS Program in the South is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the potential for introduction, establishment, spread, and impact of non-native invasive species across all landscapes and ownerships. The vision for this program is to protect native ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as begin restoration of desired ecological functions or components after NNIS removal. Read More »


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Restoring bottomland hardwoods requires attention to site conditions, matching tree species to the site, and controlling weeds and herbivores in order to achieve success.

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This is a guide for field detection and for treating field gear to prevent the spread of New Zealand mudsnails. It is intended for researchers, monitoring crews, watershed survey groups, and anyone else who travels frequently between aquatic or riparian locations.
 

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Summarizes biology of wild pigs, history of introduction and range of occurence within the U.S., and ecological and economic impacts, with suggestions for management strategies. Read More »


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Invasive Species introduced into the United States from around the globe are affecting plant and animal communities on our farms, ranches and coasts; and in our parks, waters, forests, and backyards. As global climate patterns shift, the distribution of species will change, and so will the susceptibility of particular habitats to the impacts of new species introductions. Human activity such as trade, travel and tourism have all increased substantially, increasing the speed and volume of species movement to unprecedented levels. Invasive species are often unintended hitchhikers on cargo and other trade conveyances. Still more species are deliberately introduced as pets, ornamental plants, crops, food, or for recreation, pest control or other purposes. Most nonnative species, including most of our sources of food and fiber, are not harmful; and many are highly beneficial. A small percentage of nonnative species cause great harm to the environment, the economy or human health. Nonnative species that cause harm are collectively known as invasive species. Read More »


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Constructing a water garden is a unique and enjoyable way to accent a property. There are many types of aquatic plants and animals commonly used in water gardens including water lettuce, cattails and koi. Many of the popular species are not native to the area or watershed in which they are being planted.

Introduced species are defined as any individual, group, subspecies or population that enters an aquatic ecosystem outside of its historical native range. These species  may be plants or animals and may arrive from different countries or from different locations of the same country. Non-native species like goldfish and purple loosestrife, are now prevalent in many regions across the U.S. after first being used as ornamentals. Once established, introduced species may cause ecological and economic problems and  can be difficult if not impossible to control or eradicate. Read More »


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Rod Pinkston, a former U.S. Army Master Sergeant and war veteran, may well be one of the world's best and most intuitive wild hog hunters in the world.

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Many forest managers are unknowingly introducing and spreading invasive plants on their lands through management practices they implement. These practices, ranging from traditional silvicultural management to wildlife enhancement and land-use conversion practices, all influence invasive plant growth, reproduction, and dispersal. Recognizing and predicting the response of individual species to these practices will enable managers to take steps to prevent or reduce the impact of invasive plants on their land. Many of these species eliminate all productive uses on infested sites and are very expensive to control and/or eradicate. Knowing which invasive plants are common in your region and being able to identify them aids in quickly responding to new threats. Monitoring disturbed areas and proper sanitation of equipment helps prevent new infestations. Issues such as when and how to use prescribed fire and how different invasive plants will respond can be confusing and overwhelming. This publication integrates vegetation management guidelines and control techniques with silvicultural practices, such as prescribed fire, harvest  techniques, site preparation, timber stand improvement, and wildlife plantings, in a format that will help the manager understand the relationship of management  practices and invasive plants.


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Invasions of nonnative plants into forests of the Southern United States continue to spread and include new species, increasingly eroding forest productivity, hindering forest use and management activities, and degrading diversity and wildlife habitat. This book provides the latest information on how to organize and enact prevention programs, build strategies, implement integrated procedures for management, and proceed towards site rehabilitation and restoration. Effective control prescriptions are provided for 56 nonnative plants and groups currently invading the forests of the 13 Southern States. A companion book, “A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests,” (Miller and others 2010) includes information and images for accurate  identification of these invasive plants. Read More »


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Only a very small subset of species introduced to an area where they are not native will become invasive.  But when the invasion begins, it can be costly.  The best way to fight an invasion is to prevent one from happening. Read More »


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cogongrassThe southern region is in a crisis. Cogongrass (Imperata cylindria) is a world-class invasive grass and a Federally-listed noxious weed that continues to invade more lands and is widely regarded as the worst invasive threat in the Southern U.S. Since its multiple introductions in the early 20th century, it has spread to infest 1 million acres in Florida and tens of thousands of acres in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.The southern region is in a crisis. Cogongrass (Imperata cylindria) is a world-class invasive grass and a Federally-listed noxious weed that continues to invade more lands and is widely regarded as the worst invasive threat in the Southern U.S. Since its multiple introductions in the early 20th century, it has spread to infest 1 million acres in Florida and tens of thousands of acres in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.

Read More »


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Feral animals are those that have returned to an untamed state after having been domesticated.  Such is the case with almost all the wild pigs in North America.  Although some of the truly wild Eurasian or “Russian” boars have been brought to the U.S., they are rare, and most feral hogs descend from livestock or are a hybrid of the two species. Read More »



As many Tennessee producers are aware, cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and orchardgrass, suffer from poor forage production during the summer months. This has led to the search for cost-effective alternatives to bridge this summer “forage slump.” Native warm-season grasses (NWSG), bermudagrass and summer annuals
are potential alternatives that can provide ample forage during this period. 



However, economic analyses of NWSG in the Mid- South are limited to switchgrass, and only then for biofuel production. The Center for Native Grasslands Management has developed a Web-based, interactive, decision-support tool to examine various scenarios associ- ated with summer forage production. This tool can be used to examine the impacts of fuel cost, seed cost and planting rates, herbicide cost and application rates, and fertilizer price and application rates on the economics of grazing and haying NWSG, bermudagrass and summer annuals. The tool is based on UT budgets developed for forages (http://economics.ag.utk.edu/budgets.html). Using output from this decision-support tool and January 2011 current prices (Table 1), this publication offers insight into the economic implications of several inputs and outputs of NWSG as a forage in the Mid-South. Seed, fertilizers, her- bicides and fuel costs may vary greatly over time, so this publication is meant to serve only as a guide. Read More »


Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an invasive, non-native grass which occurs in the southeastern United States. A pest in 73 countries and considered to be one to the "Top 10 Worst Weeds in the World", cogongrass affects pine productivity and survival, wildlife habitat, recreation, native plants, fire behavior, site management costs and more. Cogongrass has several common names, including japgrass, Japanese bloodgrass, Red Baron or speargrass. Learn more from the Mississippi Forestry Commission

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Provides instructions for artificial regeneration, site prep, seedings and planting to re-establish longleaf pine.  The guidelines conclude, “Longleaf pine has many desirable characteristics for landowners who have multiple-use forest management objectives. On appropriate sites, and with careful attention to detail during the regeneration phase, it is possible to enjoy the versatility of this species without compromising growth rates.” Read More »


According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, endemic species are native species that are confined to a certain region or having a comparatively restricted distribution.  For example, the Joshua Tree is endemic to the Mojave Desert.  In other words, endemics, wherever they are located, are unique to their region.  In general, the greater the isolation or specialized nature of the habitat, the more numerous the endemics.  Thus, according to Britannica Encyclopedia online, species on remote oceanic islands tend to be almost 100% endemic. Read More »


Brazilian pepper-treeInvasions of nonnative plants into southern forests continue to go largely unchecked and only  partially monitored. Small forest openings, forest road right-of-ways, and areas under and beside forest canopies are often occupied by invasive nonnative plants. These infestations increasingly erode forest productivity, hindering forest use and management activities, degrading diversity and wildlife habitat. Often called nonnative, exotic, nonindigenous, alien, or noxious weeds, nonnative invasive plants occur as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns, and forbs. Some have been introduced into this country accidentally, but most were brought here as ornamentals or for livestock forage. These robust plants arrived without their natural predators of insects, diseases,and animals that tend to keep native plants in natural balance. Many have hybridized and undergone plant breeding to become more aggressive, predator resistant and resilient, drought tolerant, and cold hardy. Now, they increase across the landscape with little opposition beyond the control and reclamation  measures applied by landowners, managers, and agencies on individual land holdings. An increased awareness of the threat has resulted in growing networks of concerned individuals, agencies, governments, and companies aimed at stopping plant invasions across landscapes and restoring formerly infested lands. Read More »

Invasive Species Native species
Native species are both plants and animals that have evolved in an area so that they are adapted to the local conditions and other natives. Both animals and plants that are nonnative may sometimes become invasive, depleting, outcompeting, or otherwise weakening native populations.

Native plant appreciation is growing across the country, as people are becoming more aware of the value of natives to pollinators, birds, and other wildlife as well as their generally low maintenance. Native plants are usually better suited to local soils and do not require as much care or watering as introduced plants.

Mississippi Wildlife
Mississippi wildlife is as lush and mysterious as anything you’ll find in the Everglades; it’s just not as well-known. American alligators, snapping turtles, rookeries filled with ibis, herons and egrets, and magnificent white-tailed deer are just a few of the attractions.

In most years, Mississippi winters significant numbers of mallards and wood ducks across the state, particularly in Northwestern Mississippi, or the Delta. Most habitat in the state is privately owned, and often managed to benefit wildlife. Historically, flooded bottomland hardwood forests of the Delta have provided reliable, high quality habitat for millions of mallards, wood ducks, and other waterfowl. Those forests also serve a diverse array of migratory birds, including the Swallow-tailed kite, summer tanager, ruby-throated hummingbird, wood thrush, yellow-billed cuckoo, great-crested flycatcher, and a variety of warblers and vireos.

A plant's invasiveness is largely a matter of location and climate. Most of the plants used in gardens and landscaping do not invade or harm wildland areas. But a few vigorous species can - and do - escape from cultivation into open landscapes and cause a variety of ecological problems. They crowd out native plants, insects and animals, and can lead to increased flooding, fire and crop losses.

Watch a great 3 minute video about Mississippi Natural Wonders Bluff Lake Rookery
from Dr. Jeanne Jones' video series called Mississippi Natural Wonders.

Learn more about Native Species Learn more about Native Species


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To many landowners a threatened or endangered (T&E) species on their property is anathema because it can herald all kinds of state and federal limitations on use of their property.  Ironically enough, with sufficient flexibility, private landowners with T&E species might be able to turn the tables and profit from those organisms. One way is by working with agencies with an interest in protecting or restoring habitat. This could conceivably give landowners an edge in competing for state state or federal grants funds for restoration.

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Prescribed burning is a very important management tool for maintaining and enhancing southern forestlands. Fire has been an important natural part in the development and maintenance of forests throughout history. To many of us, fire is a feared enemy that destroys everything in its path. Because of this, the use of controlled fires, such as prescribed burning, is underutilized as a management tool for improving and maintaining habitats. Watch this video on how prescribed burning actually improves woodlands and habitat. Read More »



According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, endemic species are native species that are confined to a certain region or having a comparatively restricted distribution.  For example, the Joshua Tree is endemic to the Mojave Desert.  In other words, endemics, wherever they are located, are unique to their region.  In general, the greater the isolation or specialized nature of the habitat, the more numerous the endemics.  Thus, according to Britannica Encyclopedia online, species on remote oceanic islands tend to be almost 100% endemic. Read More »


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Whether you are a resident of Mississippi, or have never visited, the state is surprisingly diverse. The Mississippi Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, or CWCS, recognizes 4 distinct ecoregions, which are large areas that generally share similar climate, geography, and species communities.  In addition to abundant wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, mourning dove, and the invasive feral pig, the state also harbors quite a number of unique, and imperiled, species.  Read More »


Most Mississippi alluvial forest restoration plantings have not performed well. The Center for Bottomlands Hardwoods Research has the answers.

Although about 370,000 acres of farmland in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) have been planted in bottomland hardwoods over the last decade, more than 90 percent of the planted sites have not performed well, failing to meet the criterion of 100 woody stems per acre. Attributing these failures to lack of information on how to analyze site conditions and overcome difficult conditions, SRS researchers provided the following guidelines based on research at the SRS Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research in Stoneville, MS.

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According to the Mississippi Prescribed Fire Council, periodic fire played an important ecological role in shaping southern forests and grasslands. Longleaf pine is the premier example of a native Mississippi ecosystem adapted to fire.  It is also a relict landscape, having been largely replaced with loblolly pine.  At one time, longleaf pine forests covered 90 million acres across the Southeast, but now only scattered remnants totaling 3 million acres remain.  Most are privately owned.    Read More »


According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, endemic species are native species that are confined to a certain region or having a comparatively restricted distribution.  For example, the Joshua Tree is endemic to the Mojave Desert.  In other words, endemics, wherever they are located, are unique to their region.  In general, the greater the isolation or specialized nature of the habitat, the more numerous the endemics.  Thus, according to Britannica Encyclopedia online, species on remote oceanic islands tend to be almost 100% endemic. Read More »


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In recent years, there has been increased interest in establishing native warm season grasses (NWSG) and forbs as wildlife habitat. Commonly known as prairie or prairie grass, native grasslands and savannas, a forest/grassland complex with less than 50% tree coverage, historically dominated the landscape across much of the United States. These grasses and forbs grow during the warmer months of the year as opposed to cool season grasses such as fescue and brome.

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Invasive Species Best Management Practices
Best Management Practices, or BMPs, are developed by experienced practitioners or management and research organizations to improve land management outcomes. Although general wildlife [LINK], habitat [LINK], or agricultural [LINK] or water quality BMPs [LINK] may be helpful for many species of wildlife, some species have unique requirements that are highly limiting to their populations.

A good example is the Wood Duck, a species of waterfowl that declined in the late 18th century as a result of overhunting and declines in its preferred bottomland habitat. According to the US Geological Survey, “by the beginning of the 20th century, wood ducks had virtually disappeared from much of their former range.” The Wood Duck is a cavity nester and requires mature trees and snags for nesting. As this type of habitat develops slowly and can be rare under modern forest management regimes, the specific practice of placing and maintaining wood duck boxes began in the 1930s to artificially boost populations.

Specific guidelines for the correct dimensions, construction and placement of wood duck boxes has helped make the practice widespread, playing a key part in the comeback of the Wood Duck nationwide. Again, USGS states, “The story of the Wood Duck is an example of how active wildlife management techniques can have a tremendous effect on the overall success of an individual species.”

Invasive Species Best Management Practice Downloads

Thus, for landowners interested in particular species or taxa, the right BMPs can help. The following are a selection of BMPs culled from various national, regional, state and local sources. Each is available for download as a pdf.


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While NBCI 2.0 prioritizes where bobwhite restorations should take place, states do not currently have the resources to reach target densities across all the high and medium restoration potential regions of the BRI. The NBCI Coordinated Implementation Program provides the framework for large-scale habitat management programs for bobwhite using a tiered approach to landscape planning and action. This scalable approach may assist landscape-scale restoration in states where resources and opportunities are currently limiting.

Most importantly, the NBCI Coordinated Implementation Program (CIP) establishes a range-wide restoration road map founded by collaboration with clear targets and accountability. The program demands monitoring that will be used to measure success and foster learning among states. Over a decade has passed since the publication of the NBCI, this program will inspire hope for the future.

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ABSTRACT Barkbeetles (Coleoptera:Curculionidae:Scolytinae) have been an important historic and current factor affecting pine forest production in the southern United States. Although tree mortality to bark beetles often detracts from forest management goals, the natural role of barkbeetles is canopy opening, thinning, and diversification of stand structure and composition, effects that contribute to some ecosystem services in forests managed for multiple uses. Strategies to prevent barkbeetle outbreaks exploit their sensitivity to host tree spacing and reliance on pheromones to attract sufficient numbers to overwhelm tree defenses. Tree species selection at planting or through selective thinning can favor pine species that are more tolerant of site conditions and resistant to bark beetles. Precommercial or commercial thinning improves tree condition and creates barriers to beetle population growth and spread. Remedial options include  salvage harvest, pheromones for trap-out or disruption of host location, and white paint to disrupt the dark silhouette of the tree bole. Given the labor costs and trade-offs among tactics and the marginal profitability of fiber and timber production, harvest in advance of,or salvage harvest after, barkbeetle attack often is the favored management strategy. However, this strategy is not as appropriate in public forests managed for values provided by older, more vulnerable trees. High-value sites for cultural or endangered species protection may require use of more expensive management options. Read More »


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The Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles series (hereafter Guidelines) is intended to provide private landowners, state and federal land agencies, and other interested stakeholders with regional information on the habitat associations and requirements of amphibians and reptiles, possible threats to these habitats, and recommendations for managing lands in ways compatible with or beneficial to amphibians and reptiles. Read More »


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Mississippi Bird Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Final Report, 2006–2010 Read More »


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Conservation buffers such as filter strips, riparian buffers, grassed waterways, and field borders are especially applicable to southeastern landscapes and have multiple environmental benefits while serving to significantly improve wildlife habitats.

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Summary Findings

  • The Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds practice (CP33) is the first Federal conservation practice to target species-specific population recovery goals of a national wildlife conservation initiative (the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative).
  • Over 14 states, breeding bobwhite densities were 70 to 75 percent greater around CP33 buffered fields than around unbuffered crop fields.
  • Fall bobwhite covey densities were 50 to 110 percent greater around CP33 fields than around unbuffered crop fields, and this positive response to CP33 increased each subsequent year of the study.
  • Several upland songbirds (e.g., dickcissel, field sparrow) responded strongly to CP33 in the landscape.
  • Area-sensitive grassland birds (e.g.,grasshopper sparrow) exhibited little response to CP33 buffers.
  • These findings illustrate the wildlife value of field borders and other buffer practices implemented through EQIP, WHIP, and other conservation programs.
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ABSTRACT.—Grassland bird populations are sharply declining in North America. Changes in agricultural practices during the past 50 years have been suggested as one of the major causes of this decline. Field-border conservation practices encouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Conservation Buffer Initiative meet many of the needs of sustainable agriculture and offer excellent opportunities to enhance local grassland  bird populations within intensive agricultural production systems. Despite the abundant information on avian use of, and reproductive success in, strip habitats during the breeding season, few studies have examined the  potential value of field borders for wintering birds. We planted 89.0 km of field borders (6.1 m wide) along  agricultural field edges on one-half of each of three row crop and forage production farms in northeastern  Mississippi. We sampled bird communities along these field edges during February–March 2002 and 2003 using  line-transect distance sampling and strip transects to estimate density and community structure, respectively. We used Program DISTANCE to estimate densities of Song (Melospiza melodia), Savannah (Passerculus sandwichensis), and other sparrows along bordered and non-bordered transects while controlling for adjacent plant  community. Greater densities of several sparrow species were observed along most bordered transects. However, effects of field borders differed by species and adjacent plant community types. Diversity, species richness, and relative conservation value (a weighted index derived by multiplying species-specific abundances by their respective Partners in Flight conservation priority scores) were similar between bordered and non-bordered edges.  Field borders are practical conservation tools that can be used to accrue multiple environmental benefits and  enhance wintering farmland bird populations. Provision of wintering habitat at southern latitudes may influence  population trajectories of short-distance migrants of regional conservation concern.

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Field borders benefit wintering farmland birds,with greater positive effects associated with wider borders.

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The conservation provisions of the Farm Bill can produce more consistent positive wildlife habitat benefits when policy (program statutes, rules, practices, and practice standards) is developed in the context of explicit goals identified as part of large-scale conservation initiatives.

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Review of the available literature on the ecological and economic impact of ecosystem services provided by  bats. Read More »


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Restoring bottomland hardwoods requires attention to site conditions, matching tree species to the site, and controlling weeds and herbivores in order to achieve success.

Read More »


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The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is the unified range-wide strategy of 25 state wildlife agencies, with numerous conservation group and research institution partners, to achieve widespread restoration of native grassland habitats and huntable populations of wild quail. Read More »


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NMFS implements management measures described in a framework action to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This final rule establishes a closure date for the 2013 recreational sector for the harvest of gag based on the projected annual catch target (ACT), and reduces the geographic extent of the recreational shallow-water grouper (SWG) fixed seasonal closure. In the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), SWG consists of gag, red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper.

The purpose of this rule is to help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the Gulf gag and other SWG resources and prevent overfishing from the stocks in the SWG complex. Read More »


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Here, using publicly available information, the Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue present the first scientifically rigorous quantitative account of no-take marine reserves in the waters of US coastal states and territories.

All people depend on services and goods that living oceans provide, but human activities now threaten marine life and, hence, our lives. Marine biologists recommend creating strong marine protected areas (MPAs) to safeguard life within them and to benefit people outside them. Many coastal states and territories have established at least some protected areas, but this protection is often weak or temporary, with fewer benefits to people. In contrast, no-take marine reserves—MPAs free from fishing, mining and oil & gas development—are the gold standard. They allow places in the sea to recover biodiversity and abundance, and export marine life to surrounding and remote areas.

Our finding: Few states provide strong protection for marine ecosystems. There is much room for improvement.

The best-protected states and territories are Hawaii, California and the US Virgin Islands. Hawaii protects 22.94% of its state marine waters as no-take reserves; California 8.74% and USVI 5.69%. These states and territories deserve our appreciation and our business. A few protect very small amounts of their coastal waters, roughly 1% or less (Florida, Puerto Rico, Oregon, CNMI, Guam, Washington, North Carolina, Virginia and Maine). Fifteen coastal states, including Alaska, Mississippi, South Carolina, Delaware and Massachusetts, don’t yet strongly protect any of their marine waters. Citizens deserve to know which states are leaders and which aren’t doing enough to protect our beaches, coastal waters and seafood. Read More »


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Invasive Species introduced into the United States from around the globe are affecting plant and animal communities on our farms, ranches and coasts; and in our parks, waters, forests, and backyards. As global climate patterns shift, the distribution of species will change, and so will the susceptibility of particular habitats to the impacts of new species introductions. Human activity such as trade, travel and tourism have all increased substantially, increasing the speed and volume of species movement to unprecedented levels. Invasive species are often unintended hitchhikers on cargo and other trade conveyances. Still more species are deliberately introduced as pets, ornamental plants, crops, food, or for recreation, pest control or other purposes. Most nonnative species, including most of our sources of food and fiber, are not harmful; and many are highly beneficial. A small percentage of nonnative species cause great harm to the environment, the economy or human health. Nonnative species that cause harm are collectively known as invasive species. Read More »


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Non-native plants, animals, and microorganisms found outside of their natural range can become invasive. While many of these are harmless because they do not reproduce or spread in their new surroundings, other non-native species (NNIS) are considered invasive if they can cause harm to the economy, ecology or human health of the new environment. These species thrive in new areas because they establish relatively quickly, tolerate a wide range of conditions, are easily dispersed, and are no longer limited by the diseases, predators, and parasites that kept their populations in check in their native range.

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A Prescribed Fire Association is a group of landowners and other concerned citizens that form a partnership to conduct prescribed burns. Prescribed burning is the key land management tool used to restore and maintain native plant communities to their former diversity and productivity for livestock production and wildlife habitat. Native prairies, shrublands, and forests supply the majority of livestock forage and much of the wildlife habitat in the U.S. Without fire, many native plant communities become dysfunctional and unproductive. Research has clearly shown that there is no substitute for fire. 

Many forest and grassland ecosystems are fire dependent and not burning is poor land management.  Why do not more people use prescribed fire to manage their land? First, fire was not part of the European culture that settled in post-Columbian America. Fire exclusion and fire suppression has been engrained in our society for years and popularized by the very successful Smokey the Bear ad campaign. The result has been a rapid decline in the quality of our natural resources, along with costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year to fight wildfires and the many other negative consequences of fuel build up. This article has been adapted from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Association. Read More »


A summary of all the benefits of prescribed fire in southern forests. Read More »



As many Tennessee producers are aware, cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue and orchardgrass, suffer from poor forage production during the summer months. This has led to the search for cost-effective alternatives to bridge this summer “forage slump.” Native warm-season grasses (NWSG), bermudagrass and summer annuals
are potential alternatives that can provide ample forage during this period. 



However, economic analyses of NWSG in the Mid- South are limited to switchgrass, and only then for biofuel production. The Center for Native Grasslands Management has developed a Web-based, interactive, decision-support tool to examine various scenarios associ- ated with summer forage production. This tool can be used to examine the impacts of fuel cost, seed cost and planting rates, herbicide cost and application rates, and fertilizer price and application rates on the economics of grazing and haying NWSG, bermudagrass and summer annuals. The tool is based on UT budgets developed for forages (http://economics.ag.utk.edu/budgets.html). Using output from this decision-support tool and January 2011 current prices (Table 1), this publication offers insight into the economic implications of several inputs and outputs of NWSG as a forage in the Mid-South. Seed, fertilizers, her- bicides and fuel costs may vary greatly over time, so this publication is meant to serve only as a guide. Read More »


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This 40-page document provides detailed information on the biology of wild pigs, how to recognize their presence, the type of damage they can cause to agriculture and natural areas and a wide range of management techniques, including hunting.  It applies to just about anywhere in the U.S. where wild pigs are found.

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Gives an overview of prevention techniques for live fish, shellfish, ornamental fish and invertebrates, aquatic plants, marine shrimp and freshwater prawns. A list of all Southern Regional Aquaculture Center factsheets (more than 150) are available at https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/viewAllSheets/

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Discusses pathogens and parasites, genetic alterations, and genetically modified organisms. A list of all Southern Regional Aquaculture Center factsheets (more than 150) are available at https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/viewAllSheets/ Read More »


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A must-read for any responsible aquaculturist contemplating non-native species production. A list of all Southern Regional Aquaculture Center factsheets (more than 150) are available at https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/viewAllSheets/

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A discussion of the main types of aquatic weeds, plus prevention; biological, chemical, and mechanical control; and integrated weed management.
A list of all Southern Regional Aquaculture Center factsheets (more than 150) are available at https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/viewAllSheets/


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Strategies and cost estimates for various forms of frightening programs and exclusion or barrier methods of control. A list of all Southern Regional Aquaculture Center factsheets (more than 150) are available at https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/viewAllSheets/ Read More »

BMPs oriented more specifically toward forest resources, energy efficiency, farms & agriculture and wildlife habitat are also available on this site.

Invasive Species News Items
Invasive+Plants news in Mississippi Conservation Center
The following news articles are provided by the Google News service and do not reflect the views or imply an endorsement by the Mississippi Conservation Center and its affiliates. We cannot guarantee the relevance of the content of this page or any links that may be followed from the articles herein.
Google News

Kudzu-eating bugs: Friend or foe?
Knoxville News Sentinel
Last year the wasp, which arrived in the U.S. along with the kudzu bug, was found only in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Researchers are looking for the wasp in Tennessee, but haven't found it so far. Kudzu bugs have piercing mouth parts and feed ...

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Steadying the stream: For a healthier Little Buffalo Creek
Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Simonson, a former township supervisor in the Leech Lake area, said he was more familiar with invasive species than with water runoff issues before getting involved in the project. "People don't understand how the drainage works in the Mississippi," he ...




Field reports: Minnesota pheasant population rises slightly over 2013
Duluth News Tribune
Zebra mussels continue their move into more Minnesota lakes, with the Department of Natural Resources confirming on Friday the discovery of the invasive species in Cass Lake. The DNR said a citizen discovered the zebra mussels earlier in the week while ...

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Zebra mussels confirmed in Cass Lake in Cass County
Northland Press
When a report is made to the DNR, the first step is to confirm that is an invasive species by obtaining the sample from the individual who discovered it. Once identified, DNR aquatic invasive species (AIS) staff immediately survey shorelines and lake ...

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Newsweek

An Invasive Menu: Eating Termites and Water Rats to Save New Orleans
Newsweek
Controlling invasive species by dining on them is hardly a new concept. Experts have tried for years to rebrand the invasive Asian carp, which is clogging the Mississippi, as an appealing dinner-menu item, and leaves from kudzu, a highly invasive vine ...

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Erie's complex issues demand action
Toledo Blade
Large stretches of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, where native bass and crappies used to prevail, are now populated by 80-90 percent Asian carp. They overwhelm native species, much the way invasive pythons have gone helter-skelter with the ...

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Soybean-Asian carp feed blend more sustainable for aquaculture industry
Agri News
Fish meal made from Asian carp, an invasive species in the Mississippi River Basin, can be blended with soybean meal to develop a more nutritious, sustainable and economical option for feeding carnivorous farm-raised fish, including hybrid striped and ...




KARE

DNR: Zebra mussels confirmed in Cass Lake in northwestern Minnesota
Minneapolis Star Tribune
DNR invasive species specialist Nicole Kovar says it's the first confirmed adult zebra mussel find in the Bemidji area. Cass Lake will be designated as zebra infested. The reach of the Mississippi River between Cass Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish also ...
Zebra Mussels confirmed in Cass LakeKARE

all 27 news articles »



Zebra Mussels Discovered in Cass Lake
Valley News Live
Zebra mussels are now confirmed in a northwestern Minnesota lake. Someone discovered the invasive species earlier this week in Cass Lake in Cass County, Minnesota. They were found while someone was collecting shells on the beach on Cedar Island, ...




Nearly 17000 boats checked for invasive species
WPTZ The Champlain Valley
More than 1,000 boats were hot-water pressure-washed to keep invasive species out of Lake George in the first year of a new mandatory boat inspection program. The Glens Falls Post-Star reports that the inaugural year saw 16,888 boat inspections, with ...
Summer invasives fight assessedGlens Falls Post-Star
Lake George program checks 16888 boatsWRAL.com

all 12 news articles »

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