Wind-mediated seed dispersal of invasive forage grasses from agricultural grasslands in Hokkaido, Japan.
Although introduced pasture grasses are essential for forage production in current livestock farming, some species cause serious impacts on native biodiversity when naturalized. Information on the seed dispersal of invasive forage grasses from cultivated settings to surrounding environments can inform management efforts to prevent their naturalization. In this case study, we quantified the wind-mediated seed dispersal distance and amount of dispersed seed of invasive forage grasses from agricultural grasslands in Hokkaido, northern Japan. In total, 200 funnel seed traps were installed around three regularly mown grasslands and one unmown grassland where various forage grass species were grown in mixture. Seeds of each species dispersed outside the grasslands were captured from May to October 2017. Based on the trapped distances of seeds, the 99th percentile dispersal distance from the grasslands was estimated for six species, including timothy (Phleum pratense L.), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.). For two dominant species, P. pratense and D. glomerata, the numbers of seeds dispersed outside the field under mown and unmown conditions were determined under various plant cover situations. The estimated dispersal distances ranged from 2.3 m (P. pratense) to 31.5 m (P. pratensis), suggesting that areas within approximately 32 m of the grasslands are exposed to the invasion risk of some forage grass species. For both P. pratense and D. glomerata, the number of seeds dispersed outside the unmown grassland exceeded 100 seeds m-2 under high plant cover situations, while the number of seeds dispersed from the mown grasslands at the same plant cover level was less than one-third of that number. The results suggest that local land managers focus their efforts on frequent mowing of grasslands and monitoring of the areas within approximately 32 m of the grasslands to substantially reduce the naturalization of invasive forage grasses.