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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2014

  • Title: A regional study on forest understory response to garlic mustard invasion
  • Primary Author: Jason Aylward (Harvard Forest)
  • Abstract:

    Jason Aylward

    M.S. Candidate Department of Environmental Conservation.

    University of Massachusetts

    A regional study on forest understory responses to Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard) invasion

    Alliaria petiolata (Garlic mustard) is a Eurasian biennial forb, which invades forests across North America. While most work on this species focuses on a single study area, this project investigates vegetative responses to garlic mustard (and experimental eradications) at a regional scale. In the initial year of study, we established and conducted vegetative censuses in invaded and nearby uninvaded plots, at each of 8 sites from the greater Boston area to the Berkshires, and south into New York State. Soil assays were also conducted to measure N03, NH4, and mineralization. In subsequent years we will resurvey three 2m x 2m plots in each of three categories: invaded, invaded with garlic mustard removed, and uninvaded. Here we report baseline data on diversity and species composition, which will serve as a guideline for future management and restoration efforts at each site. We found that at a regional scale, diversity did not differ significantly between invaded and uninvaded sites. Diversity was also not different between plots within a site. These data provide clarification that our experimental treatments are appropriately sited; the results further suggest that it is premature to draw regional level conclusions about the impacts of garlic mustard on forest vegetation. We therefore predict that the stakeholder participants in this study will benefit from site-specific guidelines for managing diversity.

  • Research Category: Biodiversity Studies, Conservation and Management, Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens, Regional Studies