UC biology survey finds invasive plants taking over Tri-State forests

Forest ecosystems could be lost if the problem is not solved
Honeysuckle may be a staple of spring, but it also might be killing other plants in your yard.
Honeysuckle may be a staple of spring, but it also might be killing other plants in your yard.(WAVE)
Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 11:15 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Botanists at the University of Cincinnati found that there is less biodiversity in Tri-State forests after observing surveys.

The two extensive botanical surveys have been conducted and observed for the past two centuries, showing plant diversity over time in Cincinnati. UC botanists are now conducting a third survey in response to the growth of invasive species.

“One of the most striking differences is the large number of non-native invasive plants that have now invaded the natural areas in the Cincinnati area,” UC biology professor Dr. Denis Conover explained.

Honeysuckle is one of the few invasive plants taking over tri-state forests, according to botanists. Not only do these plants take up space, but they also limit the growth of trees.

“It’s a shrub,” Conover said. “It gets white flowers in the spring, it’s the first woody plant to leaf out in the spring and it holds its leaves longer in the fall than any of the native woody plants.”

Efforts to remove invasive plants can take a lot of work, but volunteer groups, such as Preserve Burnett Woods and the Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society, have been trying to help as much as they can.

“There’s been a concerted effort within the last three years,” Bob Bergstein of Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society said. “Preserve Burnett Woods is a group that is interested in Burnett Woods particularly, so they’ve been helping organize invasive plant removals, [while] we have been planting native plants in the wetlands and in the forest here over the last year.”

The threat of a monoculture of invasive plants does not only affect native plants, but also native animals and insects, according to a UC biology survey. Losing native plants means some native animals and insects may lose critical food and habitat resources.

If the problem is not solved, forest ecosystems could be lost, along with the thousands of native species in them, Bergstein added.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.

Copyright 2022 WXIX. All rights reserved.