Unbeknownst to many, Cornell Plantations includes more than its 150-acre arboretum and the 25-acre botanical garden: Nearly 4,000 acres of natural areas support the university as outdoor classrooms and places for recreation.
But these natural areas are being invaded by invasive species, such as the hemlock wooly adeligid, a tree-sucking pest, and pale swallow-wort, a noxious weed. Degradation from these and other invasive species compromise enjoyment, learning and research.
“We want people to realize that they can help in their decisions to minimize new introduction of invasive species, such as by not planting known invasive plants or moving firewood between counties,” says natural areas director Todd Bittner.
Plantations’ staff are also preparing for the arrival of emerald ash borer (above), a beetle that could wipe out the region’s ash tree populations and have negative consequences for our local habitats.
According to Bittner, “It’s an uphill struggle, and no one believes that any of these pests will simply go away. But, our natural areas are simply too valuable to abandon to a rising tide of unwelcome invaders.”
— Rebecca Harrison ’14