Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Andrew John Storer


Ecological disturbances may be caused by a range of biotic and abiotic factors. Among these are disturbances that result from human activities such as the introduction of exotic plants and land management activities. This dissertation addresses both of these types of disturbance in ecosystems in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Invasive plants are a significant cause of disturbance at Pictured Rocks Natural Lakeshore. Management of invasive plants is dependent on understanding what areas are at risk of being invaded, what the consequences of an invasion are on native plant communities and how effective different tools are for managing the invasive species. A series of risk models are described that predict three stages of invasion (introduction, establishment and spread) for eight invasive plant species at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. These models are specific to this location and include species for which models have not previously been produced. The models were tested by collecting point data throughout the park to demonstrate their effectiveness for future detection of invasive plants in the park. Work to describe the impacts and management of invasive plants focused on spotted knapweed in the sensitive Grand Sable Dunes area of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Impacts of spotted knapweed were assessed by comparing vegetation communities in areas with varying amounts of spotted knapweed. This work showed significant increases in species diversity in areas invaded by knapweed, apparently as a result of the presence of a number of non-dune species that have become established in spotted knapweed invaded areas. An experiment was carried out to compare annual spot application of two herbicides, Milestone® and Transline® to target spotted knapweed. This included an assessment of impacts of this type of treatment on non-target species. There was no difference in the effectiveness of the two herbicides, and both significantly reduced the density of spotted knapweed during the course of the study. Areas treated with herbicide developed a higher percent cover of grasses during the study, and suffered limited negative impacts on some sensitive dune species such as beach pea and dune stitchwort, and on some other non-dune species such as hawkweed. The use of these herbicides to reduce the density of spotted knapweed appears to be feasible over large scales.