Volunteers head out to destroy invasive plant
Volunteers with the Nature Conservancy of Canada took to the woods near Pugwash, Nova Scotia today on Saturday to stop an invasive species from overtaking wildlife habitat.
The Nature conservancy owns property near Pugwash, but recently an unwanted plant — the glossy buckthorn has been showing up there.
"The species has somehow been able to establish itself and expand throughout a 1.5 to two-acre area in a very short period of period of time," said Craig Smith for the group.
The plant has been in North America since the 19th century when someone likely brought it here from Europe as an ornamental garden plant.
It was noticed in Nova Scotia about 12 years ago. If gone unnoticed, the glossy buckthorn can grow to more than 12 metres, crowding out native species like pines and maples.
"So what you end up with is reduced wildlife habitat and a forest with a dramatically altered composition — that is, the types of species that are in the forest," said Smith.
"With 20 people moving through these woods, we're going to be able to pull out close to 1,500 to 2,000 of these specimens, which is was going to make a significant difference here."
The small tree looks very similar to many native plants, but the easiest way to spot them is by white marks on the bark.
The nature conservancy believes the glossy buckthorn is such a threat, they will even use a chemical painted on any remaining stumps to make sure it dies.
"This is in an incredibly aggressive species and has some significant potential to impact Nova Scotia basic biodiversity," said Smith.
The glossy buckthorn has also been reported in the Antigonish and Annapolis Valley areas of the province.