Common Buckthorn in and around Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

A man bends down and looks through a wire fence to examine a forest mesocosm study plot.
Dr. Michael Schuster examines a forest mesocosm plot pertaining to a study designed to determine the best way to limit the re-invasion of common buckthorn.

photo by Colleen Otte

Common buckthorn is an invasive shrub causing problems in many natural areas. Dr. Michael Schuster and Dr. Peter Wragg, both of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities are conducting research in and around the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area that they hope will help land managers combat this problem. The two hypothesize that establishing vigorous and diverse native plant communities around buckthorn that has been cut and stump treated will limit re-invasion (particularly from the seed bank) by taking up light, space, and other resources that the buckthorn would otherwise use. Here Dr. Schuster examines forest mesocosm plots, each having different combinations of native plants in areas where buckthorn has been removed. The researchers will assess which plant combinations are most effective in preventing the re-invasion of buckthorn.

Last updated: September 15, 2018