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climate change

MSU July Weed Post – Weed Spread & Climate Change

Monday, July 14th, 2014


This month’s post comes to us from Dr. Lisa Rew, Associate Professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at MSU, and highlights some of her recent work looking at weed spread along elevation gradients and how this may help us better predict patterns of invasion within the context of a changing climate. If you have any questions regarding her research, please contact Lisa directly at

Excerpt from this month’s weed post:

Whether we like it or not, our climate is changing: generally Montana is getting warmer and patterns of precipitation (amount, form -snow or rain, timing) have changed in various ways across the state.  In addition, the human population continues to grow in many parts of Montana, and this has increased the frequency and intensity of road and trail use. Understanding how weeds respond to such changes and where new populations are likely to occur is helpful for planning weed management at the broader scale. Dalmatian toadflax, originally from Eurasia, has been present in southwest Montana since the early to mid-1900s and occurs in a range of areas including our more mountainous areas. Weeds respond to disturbance and are more abundant on bareground than in healthy growing vegetation, which is why they are abundant along roadsides. So what is stopping the spread of this and other species to higher elevations and away from roads and trails? Are seeds not getting there? Is the climate so inclement that seeds arriving at higher elevations cannot germinate or establish? Or, does the intact high-elevation vegetation stop the invasion?

Finish reading the July 2014 MSU Weed Post.