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Invasive Species

Cheatgrass invasive species
Bromus tectorum, commonly known as cheatgrass, is an annual plant grass that invades rangelands, pastures, prairies, and other open areas. Cheatgrass has the potential to completely alter the ecosystems it invades. It can completely replace native vegetation and change fire regimes. It occurs throughout the United States and Canada, but is most problematic in areas of the western United States with lower precipitation levels. Cheatgrass is native to Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. It was first introduced into the United States accidentally in the mid 1800s.

Invasives are non-native and native species that cause ecological and economic harm. Invasive plant species are a threat to wildland ecosystems causing widespread degradation. Some of the consequences of invasive plants include displacement of native plants, reduced wildlife habitat quality, and altered fire regimes. GSD scientists study the biological and ecological requirements of invasive and native species, dynamics between disturbances and invasive spread, and ways to mitigate their impacts by investigating techniques designed to control target species and restore damaged ecosystems.