Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Department

Biology

Degree Program

Biology, MS

Committee Chair

Carreiro, Margaret

Committee Member

Remold, Susanna

Committee Member

Waltman, Major

Author's Keywords

invasive species; before-and-after; Cherokee Park; Louisville, Kentucky; urban park; woodland

Abstract

Counter to what some people think, urban areas can be biodiversity hotspots. Maintaining this biodiversity can be challenging, since exotic shrubs and vines block sunlight and threaten native plant regeneration. Since 2007, the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy (LOPC) has spent $2 million on invasive plant management in Cherokee Park. Before the project began, long-term transects were established by the LOPC to collect baseline presence/absence data on 11 invasive plant species. In 2014, I revisited these transects and documented presence/absence data on the entire plant community. I found that four species (garlic mustard, winter creeper, Japanese honeysuckle, and English ivy) have increased significantly since 2007, while only one species (ground ivy) has declined. However, native plant taxa, including some rare species, represented two-thirds of the total plant community. This information will allow managers to focus their efforts on areas where invasive plants are problematic or where rare native species are present.

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