|Japanese stiltgrass growing on abandoned railroad tracks along Ashokan Rail Trail|
|The characteristic silver midrib of Japanese stiltgrass|
|Japanese stiltgrass lining the sides of a hiking path|
|Japanese stiltgrass expanding from roadside into forest interior|
It turns out that human activity along the forest roads is one of the major causes of the rapid and unnatural spread of stiltgrass in invaded forests, whether it's from hikers picking up seeds as they trudge along hiking paths, or vehicles doing the same along passable roadways.
In addition, the forest roads themselves can create conditions that are environmentally advantageous for this invasive grass. For example, the use of limestone gravel in many unpaved roads can raise the pH of the surrounding soil, which is favored by M. vimineum.
Unfortunately, it is neither possible nor perhaps even desirable to completely remove all human structures from parks and other forested areas in a quest to return the forests to their original pristine condition, But we can at least minimize the negative impact we have on these environments through more studies that delineate the many ways our presence in the natural world affect the denizens of the forests.