Effects of Aboveground Removal of Buckthorn on the Surrounding Plant Community
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The numbers of invasive plants are increasing in forests of the Midwestern United States. These invasions are causing economic and ecological problems. Buckthorn is a nonnative invasive shrub, which grows rapidly and shades out surrounding native plants. It is important to better understand why buckthorn is invasive and methods of prevention and control. There are many different options to control buckthorn. I chose two mechanical methods that removed the above ground portion of the plant (cut and cut plus girdle) in order to see how buckthorn affects the surrounding plant community. Using transect lines, the surrounding plant community was monitored for four months after one year of treatment. At the end of the study, the regrowth of buckthorn was assessed. It was found that species richness did not differ between the treated plots and the control plots. However the cut plus girdle stumps contained on average 40%-50% fewer new buckthorn sprouts than just the cut stumps, suggesting that cutting and girdling is more effective than cutting along.
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