An assessment of invasive plants on Shorter University’s campus

Madelyn Anderson, Michael K. Crosby

Abstract


Invasive plant species have various negative impacts on the ecosystems they invade. Studies have shown that invasive species decrease species diversity, cause economic loss, and reduce forest health and productivity. A study was designed to determine the presence of invasive plant species on Shorter University’s campus in Rome, GA, using 50 (1 m x 1 m) randomly allocated plots. From the initial assessment, it was determined that invasive plants are most prevalent along the forest edge, extending into the forest. Therefore, a forest edge study, consisting of 25 (1 m x 1 m) plots, was developed to assess the effects of invasive plants within the forest edge. Plants were identified to the species level and percent cover was estimated for the plots. Simpson’s Diversity Index was calculated to assess plant diversity in the forest edge. The study indicated that as the percent cover of invasive plants increased, so did the diversity of the plot. While native plant species diversity did decline, overall diversity increased because of the high density of invasive plants in the forest edge. The invasive plant species identified in this study included, Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), English ivy (Hedera helix), wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), nandina (Nandina domestica), mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneate), and kudzu (Pueraria montana). These invasive species will continue to degrade the ecosystem through their rapid spread, necessitating the need to develop strategies for effective management on Shorter University’s campus.

Keywords


Simpson’s Diversity Index; management; diversity; forest edge;

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References


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