Long-term Ecological Restoration Project: Invasive Burning Buch Removal on Westfield State University's Campus
In western Massachusetts, invasive vegetation is negatively influencing floodplain forests and the surrounding watersheds. Invasive plants may outcompete native plants, damage wildlife habitat, and degrade soil and water quality. The forest understory along the Westfield River on Westfield State University’s campus has many invasive species, with winged burning bush (Euonymus alatus) being the dominant understory plant. Winged burning bush is a very successful invasive, having the ability to systematically root and produce high quantities of seeds during the growing season. While winged burning bush is a dominant invasive species in the area, little is known of the best methods to remove or control it. Our primary goal is to determine the most effective methods to remove the species to restore the native floodplain vegetation. Using plots, five different treatments will be tested: control (no removal), cutting, cutting with herbicide, root removal, and root removal with herbicide. These plots will be monitored over a five-year period to measure the success of each removal method along the river and subsequent establishment of native understory species.