US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Cynthia Huebner

Research Botanist
180 Canfield St.
West Virginia
United States

Phone: 304-285-1582
Contact Cynthia Huebner

Current Research

My research focuses on the biology and ecology of invasive plant species in forest systems, especially in
association with anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Research topics include:

  • prediction of vulnerability to invasion (from seed bank, to establishment, to spread),
  • competitive ability of common invaders (such as Ailanthus altissima and Microstegium vimineum) in comparison with associated native species and under various environmental conditions,
  • basic biology and reproductive ecology of common invaders, especially in terms of how these characteristics may explain their invasiveness or pinpoint particular weaknesses,
  • evaluation of detection methods for sampling so that establishing invaders (or rare species) are documented early and effectively, and
  • restoration of invaded forest sites.

Research Interests

My research will continue to focus on the biology and ecology of invasive plant species in forest systems, especially in association with anthropogenic and natural disturbances.

Why This Research is Important

Successful management of our forests is dependent on being able to predict the effects of invasive plant species on the maintenance of healthy forest systems as well as the effects of different management and disturbance regimes as potential deterrents or promoters of invasion.


  • Miami University, Oxford, OH, Ph.D. Botany
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN., M.S. Environmental Science
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN., M.A. Plant Ecology
  • University of California, B.S. Biology

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America (1988 - Present)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (1988 - Present)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (1996 - Present)
  • Botanical Society of America (1997 - Present)
  • Center for Plant Conservation (1997 - Present)
  • International Association of Vegetation Scientists (1999 - Present)
  • Southern Appalachian Botanical Society (2000 - Present)
  • Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council (2002 - Present)
  • West Virginia Invasive Species Working Group (2002 - Present)
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences (2003 - Present)

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


A Globally Rare Plant's Response to Fire

The resiliency of rock skullcap, a globally rare plant, was studied by a Forest Service scientist working with a National Forest System ecologis ...


Forests Characterized More by Regionally Defined Understory Species are Less Vulnerable to Invasion

Current forest understory composition may help predict future invasion by exotic plants. Sites with species that can be found across regions and ...


Soil seed banks predict future forest composition

Soil seed banks help define both forest health and the likelihood of invasion. In a comparison of soil seed banks at four sites in West Virginia ...


Spatially Targeted Drone Carries Biocontrol Weevil to Hard-to-Reach Patches of Mile-a-Minute Weed

Inadvertently introduced in the northeastern United States in the 1930s, mile-a-minute weed is a highly aggressive invasive plant that is replac ...


Spread of Nonnative Invasive Plant Species in Mature and Disturbed Forests Across Landtypes

Native species could help slow the spread of invasive plants in disturbed forests.


Staghorn Sumac Out-competes Ailanthus Under Different Light and Density Conditions

In a greenhouse and common garden study led by a Forest Service scientist, staghorn sumac out-competed ailanthus (tree-of-heaven). Thus, at leas ...


Last updated on : 01/03/2022