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Invasive Species Taking Over Griffith Park

Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California consists of about 4,000 acres of land. This massive park and tourist attraction has a myriad of trails in which visitors can hike and to see various locations that overlook Los Angeles County. Along these trails are various species of trees, bushes, and seemingly harmless grasses. However, these grasses are more than meets the eye. The grasses are Bromus diandrus, an invasive species of grass that lines almost every trail in the park.

Bromus diandrus, more often referred to as Bromegrass, Ripgut brome, or Ripgut grass, is a grass that is indigenous to the Mediterranean regions but has been widely introduced to the rest of the world, including to California. The climate and temperature of Southern California is similar to that of the Mediterranean, allowing this invasive species to prosper in this ecosystem. Furthermore, the florets of the grass are sharp and bristle-like which allows its seeds to stick onto feathers, fur, and clothes permitting its dispersal over long ranges. Additionally, Bromus diandrus plants

have short lifespans, reaching maturity in as little as one year. Dense populations of Bromus diandrus, such as the one shown, can produce more than 1000 seeds per square meter. As a result of the species’ capacity to thrive and flourish in Griffith park coupled with its ability to be easily dispersed, the grass has caused a loss in biodiversity in terms of other plants and pollinators.

Not only does this invasive grass pose a threat to the biodiversity of its surrounding ecosystem, it also serves as a hazard to the habitat surrounding it. During the summer months, this grass dries up making it extremely flammable and increasing the chances of wildfires and its spread. Conservation efforts to keep this invasive species at bay have been made, but this grass still runs rampant throughout Griffith Park and much of California.

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