The Biology, Impacts and Management of Invasive Oriental Bittersweet

Successful Applicant:
PEI Invasive Species Council

Award:
$3,600

Project Title:
The Biology, Impacts and Management of Invasive Oriental Bittersweet


Project Gallery:

Project Summary:

The primary goal of this project was to investigate the biology and ecological impacts of the invasive plant, oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) and develop an integrated management plan for effective control of this invasive vine. Oriental bittersweet is an invasive vine that poses a significant threat to native plant communities. With its rapid twining growth, oriental bittersweet competes aggressively for light and girdles surrounding vegetation as it makes its way to the top of the canopy. This severely weakens surrounding vegetation, restricts nutrient and water flow and makes it more susceptible to wind and ice damage. Current recommendations for control of oriental bittersweet involve chemical treatments and application methods not suitable to the sensitive habitats oriental bittersweet often entwines itself in. Therefore the goals of this project were to:

1. Survey and map the distribution of oriental bittersweet across PEI
2. Assess the effects of oriental bittersweet on native plant communities
3. Prepare a botanical description of oriental bittersweet
4. Evaluate control options for management of oriental bittersweet
5. Develop and disseminate a management plan for control of oriental bittersweet.

The current distribution of oriental bittersweet across PEI is unknown; however, several populations exist in the eastern end of PEI in the Georgetown area. Therefore, four sites known to have oriental bittersweet present were chosen as experimental sites for the development of an integrated management plan. In addition, these sites and locations directly adjacent where oriental bittersweet was not present served to assess the ecological impact of oriental bittersweet on ecosystem processes. This is a two year project and therefore this report will reflect what has been accomplished in year one.