invasive species

Have a walk through the forest of Keats and it will not take you long to see how many holly trees/plants there are. Take a walk the next year and you will see more and more. This traditional “festive” tree is not native to BC and the KICG has been working diligently to control its spread in the 33 Acre Park and encouraging private landowners to do the same. What is the problem with holly? It is one of a number of “invasive” plants that threaten the native species on Keats.

English Holly

English Holly

What is an invasive plant?

An invasive plant is a non-native species whose interaction causes economic harm, harm to human health and/or environmental harm. Invasive plants are often likened to “super-bugs”. These “super-weeds” have abilities to reproduce and survive that far exceed their native counterparts. Invasive plants quickly displace native vegetation and completely take over sensitive ecosystems as they have no natural predators (i.e. diseases, fungi, insects) in their non-native environment.

Often, invasive species form complete monocultures in sensitive habitat creating what is called a “biodesert”. Most of these plants have very low habitat value (food and/or shelter) for our native species of insects, birds and animals so these native species are displaced from their natural habitat. Monocultures of invasive plants also have impacts on our fish as these riparian species quickly choke out water ways, deplete them of oxygen, make them impassable and shade them out. (Extracted from the, the website of the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver).

While lamium, periwinkle and ivy are also a problem, it is holly which has captured our attention so far on Keats. And the forest is full of it. It spreads rapidly, living in low light and blocking out native cedar, fir, maple, hemlock. Our forest will change forever if it is left unchecked. Keep an eye out for our next Holly Pull and come out and help. Dozens of residents have helped out. Its fun and we are making progress.

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