Slow spread of the aggressive invader, Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass)
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- Rauschert, E.S.J., Mortensen, D.A., Bjørnstad, O.N. et al. Biol Invasions (2010) 12: 563. doi:10.1007/s10530-009-9463-y
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Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass) is a non-native weed whose rapid invasion threatens native diversity and regeneration in forests. Using data from a 4 year experiment tracking new invasions in different habitats, we developed a spatial model of patch growth, using maximum likelihood techniques to estimate dispersal and population growth parameters. The patches expanded surprisingly slowly: in the final year, the majority of new seedlings were still within 1 m of the original patch. The influence of habitat was not as strong as anticipated, although patches created in roadside and wet meadow habitats tended to expand more rapidly and had greater reproductive ratios. The long-term projections of the patch growth model suggest much slower spread than has typically been observed for M. vimineum. The small scale of natural dispersal suggests that human-mediated dispersal, likely influenced by forest road management, is responsible for the rapid spread of this invasive species.