Above and Belowground Impacts of European Buckthorn Invasion and Restoration
Invasive species are a persistant focus of restoration and management of natural areas. European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is an exotic shrub that has recently become the most prevalent woody species in the Chicago region. Previous research suggests that there are modified soil nutrients and organisms may drive plant invasion inhibit successful restoration of native plant communities. This project, started in 2007 explores traditional and novel approaches to restoring an buckthorn invaded tallgrass prairie/savanna to a biologically diverse and ecologically functioning ecosystem. During the summer, we will investigate how different restoration approached have influenced reinvasion, native plant communites and key soil processes. Soil investigation includes earthworm sampling, soil nutrient analysis and soil microbial analysis. Much of the work will be in the field, identifying plants and collecting soil samples.