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Project ID: 08-1-2-01

Year: 2008

Date Started: 08/01/2008

Date Completed: 11/21/2012

Title: Fire and the Invasive Annual Grass Microstegium Vimineum in Eastern Deciduous Forests

Project Proposal Abstract: Exotic plant invasions have the potential to change natural fire regimes by increasing fuel loads and continuity of fuels, which may alter fire behavior such as intensity, rate of spread, and extent. Fires can subsequently promote additional plant invasions by exposing bare soil and releasing nutrients, resulting in a positive feedback between plant invaders and fire. Here, we propose to examine the interaction between fire and the invasive annual grass Microstegium vimineum in eastern deciduous forests. Microstegium is rapidly invading eastern forests, resulting in a widespread and dense layer of fine fuels following plant senescence. This layer of fuel provides an unnaturally continuous and flammable fuel bed potentially resulting in unusually intense fires. Increased fire frequency and severity in invaded areas may cause increased damage to native vegetation and result in unpredictable prescribed fire behavior and further invasions of Microstegium. We propose to study the differences in fire behavior in invaded and uninvaded areas by examining large-scale prescribed burns conducted at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge. In addition, to answer specific questions on timing of burns and increased invasions due to fire, we will establish smaller-scale experimental research plots involving 10 different treatments manipulating the timing of fires and management options. We will evaluate vegetation impacts, soil characteristics, and invasion dynamics in addition to evaluating fire behavior in the treatment plots. The results of this research will provide valuable information to land managers regarding the effects of Microstegium invasions on fire behavior, methods to prevent further invasions following prescribed fires, and how the timing of fires affects the spread of Microstegium.

Principal Investigator: Stephen L. Flory

Agency/Organization: University of Florida

Branch or Dept: Agronomy Department

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Keith Clay

Indiana University-Bloomington

Department of Biology

Co-Principal Investigator

Sarah Emery

University of Louisville

Department of Biology

Co-Principal Investigator

Joseph R. Robb

FWS-Fish and Wildlife Service

Big Oaks NWR

Federal Cooperator

Joseph R. Robb

FWS-Fish and Wildlife Service

Big Oaks NWR

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


Oak Woodlands

Oak Woodlands








Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   3594 Journal Article Journal of Applied Ecology
view or print   2512 Journal Article Springer-Biological Invasions
view or print   2817 Journal Article Invasive Plant Science and Management
view or print go to website 2818 Journal Article Oecologia
view or print   2839 Journal Article Forest Ecology and Management
view or print   972 Poster Fire and Microstegium Invasions in Eastern Forests
  go to website 1813 Website Web site containing description of the project, objectives, experimental design, photos, video, and information on managing Microstegium.
view or print   1814 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Fire and Plant Invasions in the Midwest--Indianapolis, IN
    2599 Invited Paper/Presentation Community and Ecosystem Consequences of Microstegium vimineum Invasions in Eastern Forests--Annapolis MD
    2658 Invited Paper/Presentation Grass Invader Reduces Biodiversity and Alters Ecosystem Functions--Louisville, KY
  go to website 4798 Training Session Webcast for property managers/stewards "Causes and Consequences of Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass) Invasions" (with Lisa Brush, Stewardship Network)
view or print   5780 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire and the Invasive Annual Grass Microstegium vimineum in Eastern Deciduous Forests--Indianapolis, IN
    5993 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Invasive Grass (Microstegium vimineum) Increases Fire Intensity and Reduces Tree Regeneration in Eastern Forests--Tallahassee, FL
view or print   5436 Photo Fire in area invaded by Microstegium vimineum
view or print   7264 Poster Invasive Grass (Microstegium vimineum) Increases Fire Intensity in Eastern Forests
view or print   6910 Photo Small scale experimental fire in research plot
view or print   6911 Photo Abundant fine fuels in Microstegium invaded area
view or print   6912 Photo Dense Microstegium invasion following prescribed fire
view or print   6913 Photo Fire in area invaded by Microstegium vimineum (2)

Supporting Documents

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