Impacts of Cogongrass in South Alabama: Mapping the Extent and Understanding Perceived Threats
Type of Degreethesis
DepartmentGeology and Geography
MetadataShow full item record
Cogongrass (imperata cylindrica) is an invasive species that was introduced to the United States in the 1900s via seed packing material in shipping containers from South Asia. It spreads by both underground rhizomes and windblown seed. Currently, it is distributed in southeastern US, particularly in the states of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana. Many natural resources are affected by the spread of this invasive species in Alabama. In this research project, remote sensing is utilized as well as a landowner survey instrument to map current cogongrass locations in South Alabama and assess the documented and perceived impact this invasive species has had upon the management of the land. Both a manual and automated process was as evaluated for mapping the extent on open agricultural lands and right-of-ways. The manual mapping was chosen as the more accurate method currently for mapping cogongrass with an accuracy of approximately 90.5%. Approximately 10,500 acres were mapped in Mobile and Baldwin Counties and it is estimated that it would cost between five to eight million dollars to control this much area of cogongrass. Resource managers surveyed for the study believe that there is a strong economic impact primarily in the timber industry and on livestock production.