Invasive species are taking over some American forests

University of Cincinnati

A new botanical survey of southwest Ohio found that invasive species introduced to the United States over the past century are crowding out many native plants.

Biologists from the University of Cincinnati are retracing two exhaustive surveys conducted 100 years apart to see how the Queen City’s plant diversity has changed over the past two centuries. They focused their attention on undeveloped parts of cemeteries, banks of the Mill Creek and public parks that have remained protected from development during the last 200 years.

The study, titled “The rise of nonnative plants in wooded natural areas in southwestern Ohio,” was published in June in the journal Ecological Restoration.

UC’s latest survey follows in the footsteps of Cincinnati botanist Thomas G. Lea, who conducted a plant survey in Cincinnati between 1834 and 1844. During that time, he built up an herbarium of specimens that went to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Lea identified some 714 species before he died in 1844. His work was published posthumously in 1849 by his brother.

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