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When privet’s removed, native plants and pollinators return

Cara J

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Forests infested with privet invoke a kind of despair in people attuned to the problem of invasive plants. Privet invades a forest quickly, sprawling across the understory and growing into thickets that crowd out native plants and change the very ecology of an area. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a forest return to any semblance of its previous condition? Results from a five-year study published in 2014 by U.S. Forest Service researchers showed that not only can a thorough removal of privet last at least five years without a follow-up, but also that native plant and animal communities steadily return to areas cleared of the invasive shrub. Researchers in a 40-year-old privet stand within the forest. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service. In 2005, Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and State and Private Forestry started an experiment to assess the long-term effects of removing Chinese privet from streamside forest land in northern Georgia. SRS research entomologist Jim Hanula (recently retired) and entomologist Scott Horn, both based in Athens, Georgia, as part of the SRS Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants unit, worked with John Taylor (retired, Forest Service, Region 8, State and Private Forestry) to set up plots to test [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/when-privets-removed-native-plants-and-pollinators-return/

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