Seasonal correlations between kudzu and avian species diversity and abundance in southeastern Tennessee.
Because of its widespread distribution, Pueraria montana var. lobata (Kudzu) is one of the most common invasive species management concerns in the Southeast. Nonetheless, there are few quantitative data documenting its effects on native species. This study examines the seasonal correlations between Kudzu and avian species diversity and abundance in southeastern Tennessee. By measuring the structure and composition of the overstory, midstory, and understory vegetation at sites with differing levels of Kudzu coverage, we examined correlations between Kudzu density and avian numbers. Kudzu coverage had a significant negative impact on avian diversity (P < 0.001) and species richness (P <0.001). Kudzu's alteration of vegetation structure, through the creation of a monoculture and subsequent reduction of structural diversity, was likely the cause of reduced avian diversity and richness.