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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 946374, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/946374
Research Article

Survey to Evaluate Escape of Eucalyptus spp. Seedlings from Plantations in Southeastern USA

1Center for Forest Disturbance Science, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2Product Development, ArborGen Inc., Summerville, SC 29483, USA
3Florida FGT LLC, Gainesville, FL 32635, USA
4School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

Received 10 July 2012; Revised 8 December 2012; Accepted 17 December 2012

Academic Editor: Matias Kirst

Copyright © 2013 Mac A. Callaham Jr. et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Interest in biomass-based energy in the southeastern Unites States has led to increased need for fast-growing tree species. Several Eucalyptus species exhibit characteristics that make them attractive in the bioenergy context. However, some of these also possess traits that suggest they could become invasive. To make a preliminary assessment of the risk of seedling establishment in the vicinity of Eucalyptus plantations, we conducted surveys at 3 sites in South Carolina and 16 sites in Florida. In South Carolina, no seedlings were detected in any sample transect. In Florida, we found seedlings within the boundaries of Eucalyptus plantations at 4 of the 16 sites surveyed. We also detected seedlings outside the boundaries of these same four plantations, but only two seedlings were detected at distances >45 m from plantation boundaries. All seedlings from Florida were either E. amplifolia, E. robusta, or E. grandis. The most predictive variable evaluated was latitude, with 27°N being the highest latitude at which seedlings established with regularity. Results of this survey indicate that, under current conditions, the spread of Eucalyptus spp. from plantations should be possible to manage with appropriate monitoring, but this should be evaluated further before Eucalyptus spp. are adopted for widespread planting.