Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Integrated Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Thelma H. Dalmas

Second Advisor

Mary E. Lehman, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gene Sattler, Ph.D.


The objective of this study was to identify and inventory exotic plant vegetation along a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway and to determine which species, if any, are invading the adjacent forest and the extent to which these invasions occur. The methods used were derived from those developed by James Akerson at Shenandoah National Park in 1997. Six transects were studied along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Each transect included two to five 100 square meter plots. The first plot of each site was centered at the border between the mowed area and the natural area. The second plots were centered 50 meters from the starting point of the site. The other plots were centered at 50 meter intervals from the second plots.

On average, about thirty percent of the plant species found in plots that were visible from the Parkway were exotic plants. All 49 species of exotic plants identified in survey plots were found in either one or both of the first two plots, 50 meters or less from the starting point of each transect. Forty-three species, or eighty-seven percent, were limited to these two plots, while only six exotic plant species were also found in plots 100 or more meters from the starting point. As expected, the number of exotic plant species decreased as distance from the Parkway increased. Lonicera japonica was found deepest into the forest interior, in a plot 150 meters from the start. Alliaria petiolata and Microstegium vimineum were also found to be successful invaders of shaded forest interior plots. Exotic species that are invading the interiors of the forest should have priority for the Parkway's exotic management programs.

Included in

Botany Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.