Monday, April 2, 2012

Invasives are green

That seems like an obvious statement, but it is a simple conservation trick at this point of the year. Below you can see a photo of the white trail in the Jump Hill section of the Trout Brook Valley Conservation Area. There is an enormous amount of green undergrowth in this forest of bare trees and little else. Can you identify the plant in question?

It is Japanese Barberry, a shrub that the Aspetuck Land Trust has been working to remove from Trout Brook Valley. We have been hard at work extracting it from any of our properties whenever possible as well. Only a handful of birds find it useful. On the March day I took the photo White-throated Sparrows seemed to be the sole species utilizing it for anything - cover, in their case. Eastern Towhee and Veery may try to breed in it during the summer, but it is a highly destructive force in our forests.

Looking at the photo, you can see it is a sea of green against the dull brown and gray, a sure sign that the plant you are looking at is an invasive. Normally in March and April, without all of the explosive growth of native species we have had this year in some cases, you can pick out invasive plants in this manner because they green up first, getting a leg up on any other species as they grow rapidly and crowd out any competition. Therefore, invasives are green.....right now when many of the plants you should see in our natural habitats are not.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

All photos © Scott Kruitbosch and not to be reproduced without explicit permission

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