Invasive Plants and the Battle over Sparta Mountain

This controversy creates a tough situation…Different groups that support the environment fighting over what is best for the environment.

Old growth forest is something that we sorely lack in New Jersey. After all, with few exceptions our old growth forest has been cut over and over again since the 1700’s. Further, we have introduced invasive plants through our need to have that perfect yard.

Invasive plant English Ivy

Now we have a stand that is to be cut in certain places and trimmed in others. The plan also intends to use selective pesticides to remove invasive species.

The intentions are certainly laudable..to help an endangered species of bird by generating new habitat. However, to generate this habitat old growth forest must be opened as this is a species that likes grasslands.

Of course in a purely natural setting these types of environments are generated all of the time. Sometimes through the building of dams…by beavers…and sometimes through fires or storms. The difference here is that this is being done by people.

As I say, a tough call. But, we do need to know that:

  1. This is a wildlife management area…not a state park or natural area. That means it is meant to be managed for wildlife.
  2. This area is not contiguous with other preserved land.
  3. The land is protected from development.
  4. It is us, people that have introduced invasive plants through our thoughtless purchase of such plants for landscape use.

Thus, I lean to a managed plan for this area. To me, the question is not the actual management plan, it is the implementation of that plan. Will the work be done in such a way so as to protect the stream corridors and wetlands? Will the work first seek to identify, and if possible, save endangered plant life? Can the work be done in such a way so as to minimize the risk of damage from machinery? Will the pesticides used be limited and used properly.

Properly managed, the plan should help all species. But as I say, it is a tough call.

One last point…on invasive plants..why don’t the environmental groups gather forces and work to prevent the sale of such plants?

Read the full article:
Nothing clear-cut about Sparta Mountain logging controversy

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