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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Research Topics


The threat of non-native invasive plant species in the nation’s forests is an ever growing concern.  In 2003, Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth listed invasive species as one of the four biggest threats facing our forests.  The aggressive nature of these species allows many of them to out-compete native species causing ecological and economic harm. 

FIA is taking an active role in the inventory and monitoring of these species in order to provide statistically valid estimates of their distribution and abundance.  A national protocol has been established to collect data on invasive vascular plants on FIA plots.  In past years, FIA regions inventoried invasive plants using varied sample techniques.  As a step forward, new national protocols have been adopted that will unify all data collection programs producing a nationally consistent set of data. Each FIA region will inventory invasive plants using the same inventory techniques, but will be able to maintain their own list of species of concern for each state.

In 2005, NRS started inventorying invasive species (25 specific species) on forest inventory plots in 12 states.  In 2007, data collection will occur in 24 states on approximately 20% of all inventory plots during the collection period of May 1- September 1.  The species list has been expanded to 44 species to include a broader range of invasive plants.  Additionally, FIA will begin collecting data on all vegetation on phase three plots (a subset of our phase two plots).  In these efforts, FIA can assess the full ecological impact of non-native invasive species while contributing to the data collection of other federal entities (NFS, APHIS, S&PF, etc.).  

Links - Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) – The Nature Conservancy – NRCS Plants database - Defenders of Wildlife Biodiversity Partnership - Plant invaders of natural areas  - Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission - Forestry Images, a joint project of The Bugwood Network and USDA Forest Service, The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology



Last Modified: 08/21/2014