The Forest Service has added an iPhone/iPad application called Invasive Plants in Southern Forests: Identification and Management to its strategy of reducing nonnative invasive plants in the South.
The free app will allow more people to get involved in eradicating foreign plants, which, along with nonnative animals and pathogens, harm water supplies. They also harm native plants, wildlife, livestock and property in both rural and urban areas at a cost of about $138 billion annually.
Using Forest Service funding and research, the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health created the software from the Southern Research Station publications A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests and A Management Guide for Invasive Plants in Southern Forests.
The U.S. Forest Service is a leading agency working to reduce the impact of the hundreds of invasive plants threatening public and private lands. The application was funded by a grant from the Forest Service Southern Research Station’s Insects, Diseases and Invasive Plants unit.
The software provides photos and information that allow users to identify the 56 nonnative plants and plant groups currently invading 13 Southern states.
“Ultimately we hope this app will give people a new tool to go out and identify invasive plants and map their occurrence,” said Southern Research Station Research Ecologist James Miller, who co-authored the application’s source guides. “Effective control relies on understanding of species and how they spread across the landscape. Those are important first steps in stopping and containing the invasions of harmful nonnative plants.”
Like the publications it was developed from, the app divides nonnative invasive plants into trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns and forbs, and provides identification keys, photos and management recommendations. The app also gives users simple, on-the-spot options for treating invasive plants.
Future versions of the application will include the ability to directly report new sightings of select species into the Georgia Center’s Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), which provides a quick way to submit photos and report new sightings of invasive plants on the spot throughout the United States.
For more information on the threat of invasive species, go to the Forest Service’s Invasive Species Program page at http://www.fs.fed.us/invasivespecies/