Buckthorn Essay

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This study is about the European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica, L.), which is an invasive shrub to the woodlands of northeastern Illinois. The European buckthorn is detrimental to the environment because the shrub alters the soil properties where it resides, which forces the natural plant inhabitants of northeastern Illinois to adapt to the sudden change in soil properties. Due to the changes in soil properties, many of the natural plant inhabitants die from the high amounts of nitrogen and carbon the European buckthorn puts into the soil. This study was done mainly outside the lab in the woodlands of northeastern Illinois at three different sites, the Lake Avenue Woods, the East Woods in Morton Arboretum, and the Mary Mix McDonald Woods. The…show more content…
They found three areas of woodlands in northeastern Illinois, each area had two plots, one plot was invaded by the buckthorn shrub and another separate plot that was not invaded and only had native shrubs existing. With six plots from three different woodlands, the authors were able to get healthy data samples of soil from buckthorn-abused soil and native controlled soil, to determine the affects the buckthorn shrub has on the soil properties. Each soil sample was tested in the exact same way, which determined the soils concentration of nitrogen, carbon, water absorbency, and pH value of the buckthorn plots compared to the native plots that have not been invaded. The summary of results that came from this study resembles the hypothesis. The conclusive data shows that the buckthorn shrub was affecting the soil properties by adding higher concentrations of elements in each of the three wooded areas sampled. The buckthorn shrub is like a sponge to the soils minerals sucking every mineral and drop of water it needs to survive and flourish, which leaves the soil highly concentrated, making the competition for soil minerals and water extremely high between native shrubs and the European buckthorn. Since the buckthorn is so physically dominant, many native shrubs cannot adapt to an environment shared

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