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Individual Highlight

Removing Chinese Privet Benefits Pollinators for up to Five Years.

Photo of A forest heavily invaded by the Chinese privet shrub.. Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn UniversityA forest heavily invaded by the Chinese privet shrub.. Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn UniversitySnapshot : Results from a study by Forest Service researchers showed that removal of Chinese privet can last at least five years, during which time native plant and pollinator communities return to areas cleared of the invasive shrub..

Principal Investigators(s) :
Hanula, James L. 
Research Location : Clarke and Greene Co., GA
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 726


Chinese privet invades a forest and grows into thickets that crowd out native plants in streamside forests. Even if the woody shrub can be removed effectively, can a forest return to any semblance of its previous condition Forest Service researchers tested two methods for removing privet. In one set of plots, they used a mechanical mulching machine to grind privet to the ground level, leaving the mulch on the plots. In the other set of plots, crews with chainsaws and machetes felled privet by hand. By 2007, the plots had less than one percent of their surfaces covered by privet compared to over 60 percent on control plots where privet was left untreated. After only two years, there were four to five times more bee species in privet-free plots, three times as many butterfly species on the mulched plots, and nearly seven times as many individuals. This increase in pollinators lasted for 5 years and demonstrates the lasting value of removing privet from forested land.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Oconee National Forest
  • Region 8, S&PF, FHP
  • Sandy Creek Nature Center, Athens, GA
  • The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, Ga
  • The Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens

Program Areas