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Invasive plants hurting environment

Updated: Tuesday, August 26 2014, 04:07 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Josh Knight) -- Local forests and parks are changing and it's happening fast enough that a walk through the woods could look totally different for children now than it did 40 years ago.

Experts said local forests evolved over millions of years to support and control hundreds of different types of plants and animals.

Dr. Denis Conover, a UC biology professor, said, "Anybody who enjoys being out in nature and enjoys seeing the flowers and the trees and the wildlife needs to be concerned."
Dr. Conover said he has seen what invasive plants like the Winter Creeper can do through the years.  They take over and essentially choke out other plants.  Plants like that were originally planted in people's gardens.  But birds eat the berries and drop the seeds somewhere else.
In a matter of decades, you might only see a few different types of plants, "Where before you had several hundred species of native wildflowers trees and shrubs.  Plus, all of the animals that depend on those plants," said Dr. Conover.
The Amur honeysuckle could be called public enemy number one.  But there is good news. In the Western Wildlife Cooridor they're proving it's not too late.

Tim Sisson from the Western Wildlife Cooridor said, "The honeysuckle used to be everywhere right where we're standing, as far as you can see, this was really thick honeysuckle bushes."
Tim Sisson and volunteers cut back the invasive shrubs, treated the stumps and hoped the native plants could bounce back.  And they really did!
He said springtime is beautiful, "Then it's truly spectacular. We literally have a carpet of wildflowers all up through here!"
Sisson said they're proof, people can help.

Doctor Conover said you can help right now by using native plants in your own garden.

CLICK HERE to find examples or if you'd like to get involved in a more hands on way.

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