Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: Environment -- Native species restoration

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sep. 26, 2005 — Non-native invasive plant species, such as kudzu, fescue and Japanese honeysuckle, have caused overgrowth problems for many land areas throughout the Southeast, literally choking off plant species native to the region and reducing diversity of plant habitats.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory environmental sciences researchers have been experimenting with methods to reduce non-native species in specific areas of the laboratory's 20,000-acre environmental research park by converting them to areas more conducive to the growth of native plant species. A series of activities, including prescribed burns, selective application of herbicides, mowing and bush hogging has been undertaken over three years on 250 acres. These areas include abandoned fields, pine-beetle damaged stands, power line and roads rights-of-way, wetland restoration sites and remediated waste disposal landfills. The results have been mixed from areas that have been restored to full native grass communities to other locations where a combination of native grass and invasive species has reappeared. Research continues to determine the most effective methods to restore a balance in the growth of native plant species while promoting a diversity of habitats.