Scientists have discovered an important new reason to focus on removal of invasive plant species. A recent study featured in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management shows that removing invaders alongside a stream or river can greatly improve the biodiversity of aquatic organisms.

After removing a 160-meter canopy of invasive Amur honeysuckle growing alongside a headwater stream in an Ohio forest, a research team took a close look at what happened to insects, snails, worms and other aquatic macroinvertebrates in the stream itself.

After more than three years of monthly sampling, the results were clear. Removing the honeysuckle made a substantial positive impact on the density, richness and diversity of the macroinvertebrates in the stream. They benefitted from the greater availability of light and from improvements in the quality of organic matter.

What does this mean for land managers? You might want to think more broadly when you evaluate the potential impact of a management plan to remove invasive plants. Your efforts may have a real ripple effect!

To find out more, read the article “Removal of the Invasive Shrub, Lonicera maackii (Amur Honeysuckle) from a Headwater Stream Riparian Zone Shifts Taxonomic and Functional Composition of the Aquatic Biota” for free in Volume 10, Issue 3 of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management.

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