Alien Invaders: All About Invasive Species<br />SC416mby10 (500)<br />THI Assignment #1 & #4 (Habitat 1)<br />Cory S. Hausman<br />
Ironton Rail Trail<br /> The pictures in this photo-journal were taken along a 9.2 mile bike trail that was once part of the Ironton railroad. This railroad connected the iron ore mines to the Lehigh Valley Railroad. At one time coal, iron ore and limestone were transported along these rails. After the demise of the iron industry, the railroad shipped products from the local cement mills. The Ironton Rail-Trail preserves an important part of Lehigh Valley history. In addition to biking, hiking and walking trails there is miles of open space to enjoy nature… and hopefully think about how to protect it! <br />
What is an Invasive Species?<br />Not native to North America<br />A plant that grows aggressively and displaces or destroys other plants in the ecosystem<br />Difficult to control and mature and reproduces quickly<br />Destroy native plants that wildlife depend on<br />Destroy the biodiversity in natural areas<br />
Crown Vetch<br /><ul><li>Crown vetch can be found all along the trail as well as throughout the Lehigh Valley. It looks beautiful rolling down the hillsides where it was used for erosion control.
It was introduced to the United States in the 1950’s from Europe. Crown vetch has a multi-branched root system and can spread using its strong rhizomes.
Don’t let its simple beauty mislead you. This invasive plant becomes a problem when it chokes out native plants and shrubs that local wildlife depend on. It also can have a negative effect on the nitrogen cycle of native plants.</li></li></ul><li>Japanese Beetle<br />This insect is highly destructive in both the larval and beetle stages as it does not have any natural enemies in the United States. It was first found in Riverton, NJ in 1916. It is difficult and expensive to control this invasive insect. IPM programs can control and reduce its populations to some degree. It is important to weigh the benefits and and risks when using chemical means. There are some biological and mechanical alternatives that have helped to control the Japanese Beetles population. Avoid planting susceptible plants and look for plants that are resistant to this insect when planning your garden.<br />
Orange Day Lily<br />This popular landscaping plant has infested many of the meadow areas and forest edges along the bike trail. It was introduced into the United States in the 1800’s from Europe. It is crowding out native species in many of the natural areas along the trail. This plant reproduces through seed and its thick tuberous roots.<br />
Tuberous sweet pea (Lathyrustuberosus)<br />This beautiful flower grows on vines that can choke out native plants. It is not a huge problem right now, but if left unchecked it can become another threat to the biodiversity of the area.<br />
Narrow-leaved Cattail<br />This invasive species is from Eurasia and can be found in some of the wetlands along the trail. This dominant plant takes over an area with its dense roots and rhizome mats. It also chokes out other plants with the thick litter layer that is produced from its leaves. Wetland wildlife are dependent on a diverse habitat. The narrow leaved cattail is destroying that ecological diversity<br />
Oriental Bittersweet<br />This aggressive ornamental vine threatens vegetation in forested and open areas along the bike trail. It grows over and kills other vegetation. It was introduced into the United States in the 1860’s and probably escaped from old homesteads along the trail<br />
Goutweed<br />I first found this plant when I moved to my rural home. It was used as groundcover in one of the flower beds. I didn’t know what it was, but I didn’t like it and kept pulling and digging it out. 4 years later I am still trying to eradicate it. I also found some growing along the edge of the woods along the bike trail. It was introduced as an ornamental from Europe and Asia. It can dominate an area if left unchecked. It is interesting that deer avoid eating this plant. Perhaps that is why it was originally used in the flowerbed outside my home.<br />
Ornamental Bamboo<br />This bamboo was planted along the edge of the trail as a screen for houses that back up to the trail. Invasive bamboo species spread rapidly and can crowd out native species. Hopefully this homeowner will monitor the spread of the plants to minimize the impact on the natural areas on the opposite side of the trail.<br />
Multiflora Rose<br /> This invasive plant from Japan was introduced in 1866 as a rootstock for ornamental roses. The U.S. Soil Conservation Service promoted its use for the prevention of soil erosion. Throughout the 1940’s - 1960’s it was used as a “living fence” on farmlands. It provides wonderful cover for birds and wildlife, but its tremendous and unyielding growth continues to threaten our open fields, woodlands and road sides. It reproduces by seed which is dispersed across the region by birds.<br />
Canada Thistle<br />This invasive plant from the temperate regions of Eurasia crowds out and replaces native plants. It was introduced into the U.S. by accident as early as the 1600’s and in the 1950’s was declared a noxious weed. This agricultural weed has become a problem in the natural areas bordering the rail trail.<br />