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Volunteers improve forest health in Lambertville


Volunteers from SEWA International’s Central New Jersey Chapter, the Sourland Conservancy and Lambertville Parks & Recreation teamed up to remove invasive plant species along the Lambertville Nature Trail in preparation for fall planting.

Mary Anne Borge, Lambertville Parks & Recreation Commission Chair and Team Leader for Lambertville Goes Wild, said the project helps both the local wildlife that depends on the Sourland forest and Lambertville residents who’ve recently dealt with flooding that is partly due to large-scale loss of ash trees at the hands of the emerald ash borer.

“Invasive species displace native plants and can quickly take over. These species excel at creating monocultures, preventing much-needed biodiversity,” Borge said. “This can be devastating to local and migratory wildlife, which depends on native plants for food and shelter.”

The group focused its efforts on three invasive species: aralia, jetbead, and garlic mustard. Aralia and jetbead were introduced as ornamental lawn plants and have since spread into the forest, quickly outgrowing native species. Garlic mustard was introduced for its herbal and medical properties, but rapidly took over the local ecosystem.

In the fall, volunteers will return to plant native trees and shrubs and protect them from deer browse.

“The earth is our mother, and we are all her children,” remarked Sandesh Kamath, Coordinator of SEWA International’s Central New Jersey Chapter. “What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves.”

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