Volunteers make annual attack on invasive plant

·2 min read
Volunteers get ready to rip out glossy buckthorn plants. (Submitted by Pam Novak - image credit)
Volunteers get ready to rip out glossy buckthorn plants. (Submitted by Pam Novak - image credit)

Volunteers and organizers from the Atlantic Wildlife Institute In Cookville, N.B., teamed up with the Nature Conservancy of Canada this weekend to rip, yank and cut an invasive plant from the property.

It was muggy and the bugs were biting as about 10 volunteers waged their annual battle against the glossy buckthorn. The tree was introduced to Canada about 100 years ago, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada's website.

Its seeds are spread by birds and it can can take over large areas, making it difficult for other species to thrive.

"They can choke out a lot of the … natural species in the area really quickly. And so it changes the whole dynamics of the ecosystem," said Pam Novak, the institute's director of wildlife care.

Submitted by Pam Novak
Submitted by Pam Novak

Novak said even when the roots are pulled from the ground, the glossy buckthorn still finds a way to shoot its stems back up.

"We can see areas that we had cut last year that the seedlings are already pushing up and they're already knee high in height. So it comes back really quickly. So it's a matter of just kind of keeping at it and stopping it from progressing," she said.

Volunteers who helped with the eradication effort got a crash course in recognizing the plant and understanding the damage it does.

"You know, when we do a little workshop like this … it helps raise awareness that there are a lot of plant species out in our environment that can do some serious damage to our local flora and fauna" Novak said.

'They will find a way to grow back'

Caroline Blakely of the Nature Conservancy the annual cull has somewhat reduced the glossy buckthorn's grip on the area, the invasion will likely continue for years to come.

"Unless you physically remove the roots, and even if you do so, they still find a way to grow back by getting their little bits moved all over the place" she said.

Working with volunteers to keep the invasive species in check is not easy work, she said, but it's definitely rewarding.

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