Kentucky bluegrass, a nonnative species, has invaded rangelands in the United States and is currently present in most rangelands across the Northern Great Plains. Despite its accelerated expansion, the consequences of Kentucky bluegrass on the diversity of native plant species and on ecosystem services remain largely unknown. We synthesized the available data related to Kentucky bluegrass and how it affects native plant diversity and ecosystem services. We found that invasion may bring negative consequences to ecosystem services, such as pollination, habitat for wildlife species, and alteration of nutrient and hydrologic cycles, among others. To maintain the flow of ecosystem goods and services from these rangeland ecosystems, range science must adapt to the challenge of introduced, cool-season grass dominance in mixed-grass prairie. Based on our findings, we identify research needs that address ecosystem changes brought on by Kentucky bluegrass invasion and the corresponding effects these changes have on ecosystem services. We are dealing with novel ecosystems, and until we have better answers, adaptive management strategies that use the best available information need to be developed to adapt to the invasion of this pervasive invasive species.
Nomenclature: Kentucky bluegrass, Poa pratensis L.
Management Implications: Maintaining the flow of ecological goods and services instead of unrealistically managing for the past under changing cultural and climatic conditions (i.e., urbanization, climate change, and increased atmospheric nitrogen deposition) has become a reality. This has increased the need to implement adaptive management and new research approaches. Managing these novel ecosystems requires adjustment to timing and application of traditional management tools, such as grazing, fire, deferment, and rest, as well as bringing the collective knowledge and resources of government and educational and private sectors to bear. We need to be open to changing our traditional management practices and working on improving the flow of goods and services provided by natural areas.