Native plants overcome by invasion of foreigners

RED RIVER GORGE — Miscanthus sinensis is one of the worst offenders.

It takes advantage of our nourishing climate, and repays the kindness by smothering the locals.

The ornamental grass, which also goes by the alias Chinese silverplume, was planted at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in the 1930s, but it soon escaped and now is at large in the state.

It was one of the priority targets listed by the Forest Service last week when the agency asked for input on a proposed war on weeds in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The 700,000-acre forest "is facing an ecological crisis," as native species are crowded out by the foreigners, the agency said.

The Forest Service plan calls for treating as many as 1,400 acres a year by various means, but actual numbers will depend on how much money is appropriated each year for the work. The proposal contains no cost estimates.

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