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Extent of Kentucky bluegrass and its effect on native plant species diversity and ecosystem services in the Northern Great Plains of the United States

Toledo, David, Sanderson, Matt, Spaeth, Kenneth, Hendrickson, John, Printz, Jeff
Invasive plant science and management 2014 v.7 no.4 pp. 543-552
Poa pratensis, cool season grasses, ecosystem services, ecosystems, indigenous species, introduced plants, invasive species, range management, rangelands, species diversity, Great Plains region, United States
The geographic spread of Kentucky bluegrass in rangelands of the USA has increased significantly over the past decades. Preliminary analysis of National Resources Inventory data indicates that Kentucky bluegrass occupies a majority of ecological sites across the Northern Great Plains. Despite its fast introduction and expansion, the consequences of Kentucky bluegrass expansion on native plant species diversity and ecosystem services remain largely unknown. This paper reviews available research related to Kentucky bluegrass and evaluates its effects on native plant diversity and ecosystem services. Based on our review, we found that invasion may bring serious consequences to ecosystem services. In order to maintain the flow of ecosystem goods and services from these rangeland ecosystems, range management must adapt to the challenge of introduced cool season grass dominance in mixed grass prairie. However, the change required (i.e. reintroducing natural disturbance regimes) and the magnitude of change is still uncertain and more research is needed to determine how to control and manage Kentucky bluegrass in native rangeland ecosystems.