Friday, September 15, 2017

Webinar on Invasive Species and Legal Challenges, Sponsored by: Agricultural and Food Law Consortium

Tackling the Challenge of Invasive Species to Reduce Impacts to Agriculture

Topic: Invasive species negatively impact agricultural operations across the country. Invasive plants reduce crop and livestock production. Invasive animals damage farmland and spread diseases. The webinar will discuss some of the major pathways for invasive species introduction and spread, the roles of federal agencies and state departments of agriculture in invasive species management, and legal challenges in the prevention and control of invasive species. The webinar will also provide an overview of the recent D.C. Circuit Court decision in U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers v. Zinke. The D.C. Circuit held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not have authority under the federal Lacey Act to restrict the movement of injurious species across state lines, dealing a significant blow the Service’s invasive species program.

Time and Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 from 12:00 – 1:00 (EDT)

This webinar is offered free of charge and is limited to the first 100 registrants. It is recommended that you test your computer for software compatibility prior to the webinar by clicking here.

There is no pre-registration for this webinar. To enter the webinar, simply click here shortly before it begins.

Presenters: Stephanie Showalter Otts, Director, National Sea Grant Law Center
Stephanie is the Director of the National Sea Grant Law Center and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Stephanie received a B.A. in History from Penn State University and a joint J.D./Masters of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and Mississippi. As Director, Stephanie oversees a variety of legal education, research, and outreach activities, including providing legal research services to Sea Grant constituents on ocean and coastal law issues. Stephanie also teaches a foundational course on ocean and coastal law at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Stephanie has conducted extensive research on marine aquaculture.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Using Drones to Track Dangerous Invasive Species

A very interesting article in NextGov Newsletter about tracking down wild pigs, a “dangerous, destructive, invasive species wreaking havoc on the nation's crops, pets and outdoor historical sites" using drones. Feral or wild pigs also cause damage to wetlands which often contain rare or endangered plants and other species. Pigs are omnivores which means they will eat animals as well as plants. They also pose a danger to humans who encounter them. 

Damage caused by wild hogs in a pine stand in south Georgia
Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,
They often do not fear humans and have damaged yards in this neighborhood.
The Nature Conservancy,

Wild pigs digging for roots or tubers can severely danmage a wetland.
Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Service,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Privet biology and management in southeastern U.S. forests

This webinar will cover privet biology, ecology, and management as it pertains to forests in the southeastern U.S.

Chinese and Japanese privet (Ligustrum spp.) are now prevalent across much of the southeastern U.S.  Once a prized landscape shrub, privet has become extremely common in many wooded areas, impacting wildlife, native vegetation, and biodiversity.  Privet management is essential when reforesting harvested areas.  This webinar will discuss different species of privet, and their biology and ecology.  Different management tactics will be covered, including those for small and large privet-infested areas.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia Invasive Plant Control Update

Dobbins Air Reserve Base,
Georgia Invasive Plant Control Update

Management of invasive plant species has been a core part of the natural resources program at Dobbins ARB since the original Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) was established in 1996. Dobbins ARB has been treating nonnative and invasive species regularly since 1997. A total of 24 acres remain in the kudzu eradication program and roughly 20 to 40 acres of privet and wisteria are being treated annually.

Thirteen invasive plant species have been found on Dobbins ARB. Of these, 12 were identified as Category 1 and one as Category 2 (or watch list). In addition, none are identified as federal or state noxious weeds.
Summary of Nonnative and Invasive Species on Dobbins ARB
Invasive Plant Species
Current Status

Common Name
Scientific Name

Tree of heaven
Ailanthus altissima

Albizia julibrissin

Autumn olive
Elaeagnus umbellata

English ivy
Hedera helix

Cogon grass
Imperata cylindrica
Not present

Sericea lespedeza
Lespedeza cuneata

Japanese privet
Ligustrum japonicum
May not be present

Chinese privet
Ligustrum sinensis

Japanese honeysuckle
Lonicera japonica

Japanese stiltgrass
Microstegium vimineum

Princess tree
Paulownia tomentosa

Pueraria lobata
Mostly eradicated

Multiflora rose
Rosa multiflora

Chinese wisteria
Wisteria sinensis
Present, ongoing treatment

Phyllostachys aurea?
Mostly eradicated

Until the recent implementation of a base-wide eradication program, kudzu was considered the priority invasive plant species at Dobbins ARB. Kudzu control efforts have been successful, and this plant was not widely observed since 2004. Continued monitoring and treatment has been implemented for the long-term control of this species, particularly along the NW boundary, where it is still appears. Autumn olive was also targeted for treatment and has now been eradicated from Dobbins ARB. Several additional species have been targeted for treatment as well, with Chinese privet the most persistent and difficult to control.
Due to the widespread occurrence, either on-base or off-base, of many of these exotic, invasive plant species, total eradication would be extremely difficult on Dobbins ARB. Therefore, invasive plant management at Dobbins ARB focuses on control efforts to eliminate invasive plants occurring in ecologically significant areas and preventing their spread to new areas. Most of this management is completed by the USACE as part of the forestry management program.

In 2017 Dobbins ARB completed a 20 acre privet foliar treatment and 40 acres of spot treatment for wisteria, mimosa and kudzu. This is part of an annual invasive plant species control treatment program. Similar acreage is treated each year. This past and current control is having a positive impact on forest stand health at Dobbins ARB.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Request for Ash Samaras for Embryogenic Cultures

Request for Ash Samaras for Embryogenic Cultures
Drs. Scott Merkle and Kamal Gandhi, University of Georgia

Our research team would like to greatly expand our collection of embryogenic cultures from seeds collected from surviving ash trees that have remained alive for at least five years since emerald ash borer (EAB)-induced dieback has been documented in an area.  Below are collection and shipping instructions for cooperators who have identified putatively EAB-tolerant female ash trees from which samaras can be collected.

We would like to get about 50-100 immature samaras per ash tree.  They need to be collected from the tree while they are still immature.  In Athens, Georgia, the stage of green ash seed (not fruit with wing) development that worked best was when seeds were 4-8 mm long and the zygotic embryos inside were 1-3 mm long.  Below are some photos showing the stages of seed and embryo development we tested some years ago.  In the seed photo, the best stages for culture initiation are in the middle of the distribution.  In the embryo photo, the shorter embryos were the best.  The best date for getting those stages here in northeastern Georgia was the third week of August.  The best collection date for white ash seeds in Michigan was the first few weeks of August.  You could dissect some of the samaras to check if the seeds and embryos are near these stages.  Samaras should be stored in zip-lock bags, with the name or code for the tree written on the bag in Sharpie.  Please try to get them into a cooler on cold packs as soon as possible after they are collected and store them in a refrigerator until shipped.  They can be shipped in a cooler on cold packs (cheap Styrofoam cooler in a cardboard box or insulated bag is fine).  FedX or UPS next day delivery would be best (can arrive anytime the next day—it does not need to be here by 10 AM).  We can supply our UPS account number, if needed.  They should be shipped to:

Dr. Scott Merkle
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
180 E. Green Street
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

When you ship, please email the tracking number to  We have had some problems with UPS, and we don’t want the samaras to sit in some broiling warehouse for a day.  Also, please include information about the collection date(s), tree locations, and time since EAB detection/first report of dieback in the area.  Photographs of the crown of the surviving ash trees will be appreciated.

Green ash seed (left) and zygotic embryo (right) developmental stages.  Bar in each photo is 1 mm.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Data and Knowledge Preservation

Photo by: Rebekah D. Wallace
Did you know that many projects begin, have a specific purpose planned out, but do not have a long-term plan in place for the management of the data after the project ends?  This is an issue across many research fields, including natural/physical/social sciences, medicine, and other fields which collect data.  For many years, there wasn't a venue or way for data to be stored, categorized, searchable, and broadly available, so this was a problem without an easy solution.  Now, the internet and public databases have helped to provide a piece to that puzzle, however, there are still issues with adoption of technology, errors in documentation. lack of standardization, and more.  Check out our article on Data and Knowledge Preservation over at Earthzine to learn more about this topic.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"Integrative Forest Management for Wildlife and Forest Health" webinar

Multi-use forests can be a problem from land managers and wildlife alike. Learn more on how you can ease this by attending the webinar for Integrative Forest Management for Wildlife and Forest Health on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 1 p.m. EST. Dr. Mark McConnell - University of Georgia, D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources will be this webinar's presenter.

The increasing emphasis on multiple-use forests can be a challenge for landowners and land managers.  This webinar will discuss strategies to increase wildlife populations and habitat while maintaining a productive, healthy forest stand.  Topics covered will include preferred tree species for wildlife, stand structure, and different management strategies for various wildlife species, especially in the southeastern U.S.

CEUs available are: 

  • Texas Dept of Ag - Pesticide Safety Continuing Ed - 1 hour IPM Credit [credits applied for] 
  • Georgia Master Timber Harvester - 1 hour CLE - Environment Credit 
  • Mississippi Professional Logging Manager - 1 hour Other Credit 
  • Society of American Foresters - 1 hour Category 1 Credit 
  • Texas Pro Logger Program - 1 hour Other Credit