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Outside Invaders: Native Plants Regenerate On Own If External Factors Removed

Seven years after the initial removal, native plants had regenerated and filled the gap on their own - and they did so to a much greater extent than expected.

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Updated:May 13, 2019, 2:36 PM IST
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Outside Invaders: Native Plants Regenerate On Own If External Factors Removed
Image for representation. (Photo: Reuters)

Native plants regenerate on their own due to removal of invasive shrubs, a new study has shown.

Invasive shrubs have become increasingly prevalent in the deciduous forests of eastern North America - often creating a dense under-story that out-competes native plants, according to a study published in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management.

Researchers manually removed 18 species of invasive shrubs from five plots in a mature, deciduous forest in the Eastern United States. They cut the shrubs off at the base with hand clippers and treated foliage emerging from stumps and roots with herbicides. Any new seedlings were removed each spring.

Seven years after the initial removal, native plants had regenerated and filled the gap on their own - and they did so to a much greater extent than expected.

“Overall, invasive shrub removal increased plant diversity and allowed passive natural regeneration of native plants that exceeded native cover in the un-managed, ambient forest under minimal invasive shrub abundance,” said researchers, reports Science Daily.

"Natural regeneration in the areas where invasive shrubs had been removed actually exceeded the growth of native cover in un-managed forest control plots - even those where no invasive shrubs were found," said Erynn Maynard-Bean of Pennsylvania State University.

"The results suggest that invasive shrub removal can make sense, even when active steps to restore the native plant community aren't possible.”

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