Invasion Risk of Industrial Hemp in Florida
Dr. S. Luke Flory, Associate Professor, Agronomy, UF/IFAS
A primary goal of the UF/IFAS Industrial Hemp Pilot Project is to better understand the invasion risk of hemp in Florida, and to develop best management practices (BMPs) for hemp transportation, plantings, and harvesting to mitigate invasion risk. Invasions of non-native plant species are a significant ecological and economic problem for the state of Florida. Hemp is a problematic invasive species and a weed of agriculture globally and throughout much of the Midwest US. A recent evaluation by the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas found that hemp is a ‘high invasion risk’ for Florida, primarily because of its biological characteristics and because it has escaped and colonized natural areas in other states and countries. To predict scenarios where hemp poses the greatest invasion risk, and to help develop BMPs, we are conducting multiple research projects related to seed establishment, persistence, and basic biology.
S. Luke Flory is Associate Professor and Research Foundation Professor at the University of Florida. His research focuses on the mechanisms and impacts of non-native plant invasions with a current goal of understanding the long-term consequences of interactions between invasive species and other potential global change drivers such as climate change, fire, and pathogens. The Flory Lab explores both basic and applied questions in diverse systems such as the highlands of Galápagos, coffee agroecosystems in Costa Rica, eastern deciduous forests in the US, and pine forests and managed systems in Florida. Luke holds a M.Sc. in Applied Ecology and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.