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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: New technologies to enhance sustainability of northern Great Plains grasslands

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Extent of Kentucky bluegrass and its effect on native plant species diversity and ecosystem services in the Northern Great Plains of the USA

Authors
item Toledo, David
item Sanderson, Matt
item Spaeth, Kenneth -
item Hendrickson, John
item Printz, Jeff -

Submitted to: Invasive Plant Science and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 10, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Despite the fast introduction and expansion of Kentucky bluegrass, the consequences of its expansion on native plant species diversity and ecosystem services remain largely unknown. This paper reviews available research related to Kentucky bluegrass and evaluates its effects on native plant diversity and ecosystem services in the Northern Great Plains of the USA. This review on effects of Kentucky bluegrass on ecosystem services follows the four categories of ecosystem services described in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. Based on our review, we found that invasion may bring serious consequences to biodiversity and ecosystem services. Despite the need for change in Kentucky bluegrass invaded areas are managed, the change required (i.e. reintroducing natural disturbance regimes) and the magnitude of change is still uncertain and more research is needed to determine how to control and manage Kentucky bluegrass in native rangeland ecosystems.

Technical Abstract: The geographic spread of Kentucky bluegrass in rangelands of the USA has increased significantly over the past decades. Preliminary analysis of National Resources Inventory data indicates that Kentucky bluegrass occupies a majority of ecological sites across the Northern Great Plains. Despite its fast introduction and expansion, the consequences of Kentucky bluegrass expansion on native plant species diversity and ecosystem services remain largely unknown. This paper reviews available research related to Kentucky bluegrass and evaluates its effects on native plant diversity and ecosystem services. Based on our review, we found that invasion may bring serious consequences to ecosystem services. In order to maintain the flow of ecosystem goods and services from these rangeland ecosystems, range management must adapt to the challenge of introduced cool season grass dominance in mixed grass prairie. However, the change required (i.e. reintroducing natural disturbance regimes) and the magnitude of change is still uncertain and more research is needed to determine how to control and manage Kentucky bluegrass in native rangeland ecosystems.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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