Invasive Species | Forest Health | Kansas Forest Service (2024)

Invasive Species

What are Invasive Species?

Any species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem; and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Invasive species can come from other regions of the U.S., or even another country. They become a problem because they are beyond their natural range and there are no natural predators to control the new species population growth. Plants, animals, or even microbes can be classified as invasive species. There are many modes of transportation (wind, water, animal, or human).

The Concern:

Invasive species are being introduced and spread at an ever-increasing rate. Once established, they can permanently alter the soil structure, disrupt native plant communities, reduce dependent wildlife populations, and impact long-term forest productivity.

The Objective:

To slow the spread of existing infestations and minimize the risk of introducing new infestations of damaging invasive species into our forests.

Invasive species move much farther and faster with our help. Click the below resources to learn more about invasive species and how you can help to eradiacate them.

The Society of American Foresters has additional information about Invasive Species and Forests.

Common Forest Invasive Species

  • Callery or Bradford pear - Pyrus calleryana
  • Garlic mustard –Alliaria petiolata
  • Japanese honeysuckle –Lonicera japonica
  • Kudzu vine –Pueraria montanavar.lobata
  • Amur honeysuckle, bush honeysuckle –Loniceramaackii
  • Tartarian honeysuckle -Lonicera tatarica
  • Morrow’s honeysuckle -Lonicera morrowii
  • Autumn olive –Elaeagnus umbellata
  • Common buckthorn –Rhamnus cathartica
  • Japanese barberry –Berberis thunbergii
  • Multiflora rose –Rosa multiflora
  • Saltcedar -Tamarix ramosissima
  • Russian Olive -Elaeagnusangustifolia
  • Tree of heaven –Ailanthus altissima
  • Princess tree- Paulownia tomentosa

Check out the Kansas Native Plant Society for comprehensive lists of native and invasive speices

Control of Bush Honeysuckle

The Kansas Forest Service has beenpromoting the treatment of bush honeysuckle infestations in the fall, using backpack mistblowers. These mistblowers are available for loan throughout the state (map here), located at the following sites:

  • Kansas Forest Service State Office, Manhattan
  • KDWPT Regional Office, Valley Falls
  • Jackson Conservation District Office, Holton
  • Doniphan County NRCS office, Troy
  • Jefferson County NRCS office,Oskaloosa
  • Frontier Extension District Franklin County Office, Ottawa
  • Frontier Extension District Anderson County Office,Garnett
  • Frontier Extension District Osage County Office, Lyndon
  • Marshall County Extension Office, Marysville
  • Pratt County Noxious Weed Department, Pratt
  • Lyon County Extension Office, Emporia
  • Woodson State Fishing Lake, Toronto
  • Southwind Extension District, Erie
  • Southeast Kansas KDWP office, Pittsburg

To inquire about usage of one of these loaner units, please contact Ryan Rastok at or 785-410-0399. You will need to fill out this agreement in order to check out a mistblower.

For an example of how to prepare a tank mix for these units, please see this document.

Remote Sensing of Invasive Species

Bush Honeysuckle

In 2017, the Kansas Forest Service partnered with the KSU Polytechnic AARC to assess the feasibility of remotely mapping infestations of invasive bush honeysuckle. This partnership produced succesful results, summarized in a Report and Poster.

Invasive bush honeysuckle is present throughout many Kansas urbanand rural landscapes. Because quantitative geospatial data is lacking,persons responsible for managing these infestations must rely oninformal and anecdotal data to inform their deployment of limitedresources to manage these infestations. To address this lack ofquantitative data, the Kansas Forest Service partnered with KansasState University’s (KSU) Applied Aviation Research Center (AARC) toacquire aerial vegetation imagery and identify areas of bushhoneysuckle using image classification algorithms. AARC conductedflights over the Kansas cities of Manhattan, Lawrence, Topeka,Hutchinson, and Wichita during fall 2016. Following these flight, stillimagery was processed and stitched together into an orthom*osaic foreach city. The orthom*osaics were then analyzed using common imageclassification algorithms to highlight concentrations of honeysucklewithin and around each city. Identification of these areas was informedby using confirmed locations of bush honeysuckle to train imageclassification software. The final product of this research is a map ofeach city highlighting areas of bush honeysuckle.

Tamarisk and Russian-olive

In 2020, KFS once again partnered with KSU Polytechnic AARC, with the goal of assessing the status of non-native phreatophytes (plants with deep root systems that can impact the local water table) such as tamarisk and Russian-olive. Both manned and unmanned (drone) data-collection flights were made, focusing on strethches of Rattlesnake Creek, the North Fork of the Ninnescah River, and the South Fork of the Ninnescah. The data that AARC provided was processed and classified by KSU student Kyle Folsom, working in the GIS program at KFS. A poster with an overview of the project was presented at the 2021 Kansas Natural Resources Conferece.

Initial results indicated that these invasive species could indeed be classified (identified) from the air, and ground-truthing is in progress. Subsequent phases of this work (should funding be available) will refine this procedure and allow for remote sensing of damaging invasive phreatophtyes in other watersheds throughout Kansas.

Aerial surveys of the Arikaree, South Fork of the Republican River, the Smoky Hill River, the Arkansas River, and the Cimarron River were completed in July 2021. Data from these flights will provide the first major update of tamarisk and Russian-olive infestations since 2004, and will be integrated in the statewide Phreatophyte Action Plan, in development. Summaries of this aerial survey data can be accessed at the links below:

  • Overall Summary of 2021 Aerial Survey Data (all counties included)
  • Individual County Summaries:
    • Cheyenne
    • Clark
    • Comanche
    • Ellis
    • Finney
    • Ford
    • Gove
    • Gray
    • Hamilton
    • Kearny
    • Logan
    • Meade
    • Morton
    • Seward
    • Sherman
    • Stevens
    • Trego
Invasive Species | Forest Health | Kansas Forest Service (2024)


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