Effects of Alliaria petiolata on the understory of an eastern deciduous forest.
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) is a Eurasian biennial that has become invasive throughout the northeast. A. petiolata is considered a serious threat because it displaces the native understory species, has a negative effect on understory diversity, and inhibits tree seedling growth. Although much research has been done on this plant, there is little information about the long-term impacts of A. petiolata in the field. We are investigating at the effect of removing A. petiolata on understory vegetation, as well as the growth and survival of tree seedlings. In addition, we are tracking the response of removal on the seedling density of Alliaria petiolata. Since 2006, students taking Ecology have participated in the data collection for this project. The goal of this project is to provide students with an opportunity to gain research experience, provide insight into the impacts of A. petiolata and provide us with data that will direct future management of this species on the preserve.