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Accomplishing Exotic Plant Removal on a Regional Scale; Managing California's Blue-Gum Eucalyptus Trees for Native Plant Preservation and Fire SafetyEPA Grant Number: FP916366
Title: Accomplishing Exotic Plant Removal on a Regional Scale; Managing California's Blue-Gum Eucalyptus Trees for Native Plant Preservation and Fire Safety
Investigators: Adler, Jennifer A.
Institution: Yale University
EPA Project Officer: Graham, Karen
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $74,344
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Terrestrial Ecology and Ecosystems , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
Native plant restoration is a small but growing field that contributes to the preservation of the Earth’s biodiversity. Exotic species are a major threat to biodiversity and wilderness preservation, second only to habitat loss. Although many meaningful and effective efforts have been made to prevent the spread of exotic species, there seem to be few large-scale success stories. The objective of this research is to focus on exotic plant removal using the blue-gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) as a test case because of the potential for large-scale, effective, and rapid removal, as well as the controversy surrounding such a project. Of all of the exotic plants in California, the eucalyptus tree is perhaps the most controversial because of its endearing and hazardous qualities. Originally, the trees were planted in California for their wood, but they do not produce much usable lumber. Now the large trees serve as windbreaks and objects of admiration but threaten the native habitat and the safety of nearby residents.
I plan to research the possibilities of regional exotic species removal projects. I will look at blue-gum eucalyptus, in hopes that the final plan of attack will be adaptable to other invasive plants. My research will consider different approaches such as working to change local and state policy or focusing on outreach to individual homeowners. I also will consider the scope of the project: whether it should include a survey of potential restoration sites throughout California or start with a few small targets. Other control projects will be studied to find successful methods of acquiring funding and coordinating landowners and other interests. If the research proves that such a project is possible, I would like to start a non-profit organization to advocate for restoration projects and to help find funding to complete them.