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Tree-of-heaven ( Ailanthus altissima ) is spreading widely throughout West Virginia and threatening the native forest ecosystems in Appalachia.  This invasive plant was introduced to the United States from China in the 1780s. The same exotic tree species was also introduced to Japan in 1860s but is not aggressive in this country. In Japan, particularly in the Kyushu Island, tree-of-heaven is rarely found in natural forest ecosystems but a few trees may be found growing in university campuses (i.e. Kyushu University), school premises and house backyards. Tree-of-heaven was initially...


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Establishment and proliferation of invasive species in an environment where they were introduced is becoming a worldwide problem. During my trip to Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan in 2008 for a research fellowship, I was able to observe the same plant species that is also considered invasive in the United States. It is called the tree-of-heaven ( Ailanthus altissima ). This trip initiated a project involving a more in-depth investigation of the competitiveness of Ailanthus as an invasive plant. With the involvement of undergraduate students in the Department of Land Resources at...


Posted in: GLOBE Science Topics: General Science Investigation Areas: Earth As a System