An ENR Graduate Exit Seminar will be presented by Angela Chongpinitchai on Thursday, June 7th, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in 333 Kottman Hall. Her presentation will be The Effects of Fire and Other Disturbances on the Nonnative Tree Paulownia tomentosa and the Impacts on Native Vegetation.
Many ecosystems today are experiencing an increase in number and spread of invasive species. Little research has been conducted on the response and role of nonnatives in introduced habitats, particularly with potentially invasive plants. Often, there is not a clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms allowing nonnative species to invade an area, or, once established, how the plants interact with the native vegetation community. Paulownia tomentosa, a tree native to China and once used strictly as an ornamental in the United States, has spread throughout the East, commonly in disturbed or degraded areas. Shawnee State Forest, Ohio, has a long history of disturbances: decades of mining and logging, canopy damage from an ice storm in 2003, and a large wildfire in 2009. Throughout the forest there are mature stands and dense seedling patches of P. tomentosa, both in recently disturbed and relatively intact areas. This study investigated the effects of various disturbances on P. tomentosa establishment in Shawnee State Forest, as well as the impacts of the tree on the native vegetation. Results provide insight into the efficacy of current management techniques, such as prescribed burning and silvicultural practices, in controlling for nonnative plant species in a forest ecosystem.
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