Research Publication Title

Assessing the Effect of Chinese Privet on Native Forest Biomass Production in Milledgeville, GA

Presenter Information

Jenna MunyanFollow

Major

Environmental Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Christine Mutiti

Keywords

Invasive Species, Climate Change

Abstract

Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) is a woody shrub that was introduced in the United States in 1852 from Southeast Asia as an ornamental plant, which has been growing as an invasive species in much of the southern part of the country. In areas that this species grows, it can out compete native plants for necessities such as nutrients and sunlight. For this study, the goal was to compare the total biomass in canopy and sub-canopy trees of forest areas without Chinese privet to areas with a heavy presence of the invasive shrub. Sampling was done using vegetation plots (10m x 10m) located in Bartram Forest and the Oconee River Greenway in Milledgeville, GA starting in January 2020. A total of ten plots were sampled in heavy privet areas and another ten were sampled in areas that had not been invaded by privet. In each plot the diameter at breast height (1.3m) of canopy and subcanopy trees were recorded. The basal diameter of all the privet plants in the heavy privet samples was also measured. The total biomass, basal area, and tree density was computed and compared between the heavy privet samples and the non-privet samples. Preliminary results show areas with heavy privet have significantly less total basal area, biomass, and tree density than the non-invaded areas. The significance of this finding is that the presence of heavy privet compromises the amount of carbon that native forests are able to store. This may have implications in global climate change because of the role of carbon in influencing climate.

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Assessing the Effect of Chinese Privet on Native Forest Biomass Production in Milledgeville, GA

Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) is a woody shrub that was introduced in the United States in 1852 from Southeast Asia as an ornamental plant, which has been growing as an invasive species in much of the southern part of the country. In areas that this species grows, it can out compete native plants for necessities such as nutrients and sunlight. For this study, the goal was to compare the total biomass in canopy and sub-canopy trees of forest areas without Chinese privet to areas with a heavy presence of the invasive shrub. Sampling was done using vegetation plots (10m x 10m) located in Bartram Forest and the Oconee River Greenway in Milledgeville, GA starting in January 2020. A total of ten plots were sampled in heavy privet areas and another ten were sampled in areas that had not been invaded by privet. In each plot the diameter at breast height (1.3m) of canopy and subcanopy trees were recorded. The basal diameter of all the privet plants in the heavy privet samples was also measured. The total biomass, basal area, and tree density was computed and compared between the heavy privet samples and the non-privet samples. Preliminary results show areas with heavy privet have significantly less total basal area, biomass, and tree density than the non-invaded areas. The significance of this finding is that the presence of heavy privet compromises the amount of carbon that native forests are able to store. This may have implications in global climate change because of the role of carbon in influencing climate.

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