M. vimineum is a highly successful annual invasive grass found throughout eastern U.S. forests that thrives in a variety of habitats, including dry, open areas; moist riparian zones; and under the tree canopy. It tends to outcompete and out crowd native vegetation, altering the soil microbial community and nitrogen mineralization rates. This causes acceleration in nitrogen and carbon cycling, which leads to decreased litter accumulation and soil organic material, conditions that further encourage its spread at the expense of native vegetation.
Figure. Mean differences (+/- 95% CI) in soil moisture (%, Moist), diffuse light (%, Light), temperature (°C, Temp), leaf litter (%, Litter), herbaceous cover (Herb, g m-2), soil clay content (Clay, %) and soil pH between plots invaded and uninvaded by M. vimineum as measured at the Coweeta LTER and two other sites. Confidence intervals that do not cross zero (indicated by the dashed line) indicate statistically significant differences in means.
Warren et al. 2011
For Further Reading:
Warren, Robert J., Justin P. Wright, and Mark A. Bradford. 2010. The putative niche requirements and landscape dynamics of Microstegium vimineum: an invasive Asian grass. Biological Invasions.
Strickland, Michael S., Jayna L. DeVore, John C. Maerz, and Mark A. Bradford. 2010. Grass invasion of a hardwood forest is associated with declines in belowground carbon pools. Global Change Biology 16:1338-1350.
Warren, Robert J., Volker Bahn, Timothy D. Kramer, Yaya Tang, and Mark A. Bradford. 2011. Performance and reproduction of an exotic invader across temperate forest gradients. Ecosphere 2(2): Article 14.