PSU Fights Natural Terrorists
Students from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Pennsylvannia’s DCNR are hot on the trail of an impressive adversary. The terrorist in question? Japanese stiltgrass. This flora is an invasive species that prevents forests from supporting new growth. The effort to halt the spread of invasive species has been ongoing, and has been renewed for another 18 months.
Art Grover, a researcher with the Department of Horticulture, described the dire situation that invasive species post:
Invasive species are making parks less biologically diverse, explained Gover. “Losing plant diversity means losing the species-specific insects that eat those plants and in turn losing the birds that eat the insects,” he said. “Now, even though the forest looks healthy, a seemingly innocent shift in the plant population can have impacts on the food chain.”
A big part of the project deals with Penn State researchers and DCNR staff looking at specific state parks and prioritizing recovery efforts. Work with Bald Eagle Park in Centre County is possible under the contract extension. The final decision will be made after all environmental factors are considered.
Check out the DCNR website for more details.