Five-year invasive species management plan : Royal Roads property
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Ornamental plant species, such as English holly (Ilex nquifolium) and English ivy (Hedera helix), which are maintained in the formal gardens and grounds of the Royal Roads property, have spread as invasive species into the surrounding forest. Other invasive species, such as Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) and gorse (Ulex europneus) have been introduced from outlying areas to opportune locations on the property. Invasive species are drastically affecting the ecology and heritage values of the property and the surrounding community. Consistent management of these invasive plant species has not occurred on the property, and an inventory of the current distribution of invasive plants was conducted in January 2003 as part of a five-year Invasive Species Management Plan. The Environmental Office of Physical and Environmental Resources at Royal Roads University commissioned the project through the Department of National Defence (Directorate of Realty and Engineering Policy) and the CFB Esquimalt Natural Resources Program. This Management Plan is one of several ecological studies currently being conducted on the property. The management plan included survey and ecological information on six prominent invasive plant species on campus, and removal and remediation methods for each species. A Geographic Information System (GIS) component aided with the ranking and prioritizing of the infestations, based on their site characteristics, and was used later in prescribing the removal method. Results from the inventory indicated that approximately 80% of the property now has some degree of invasive species infestation, not including the invasive plant species present on the formal university grounds. The inventory found Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry and gorse growing in open areas and along forest and road edges; English ivy and Daphne present along forest edges and undermixed canopy; and English holly growing throughout the entire property, including forested areas with dense canopy. Unlike a Garry Oak ecosystem, the closed canopy associated with a coniferous forest at Royal Roads is a limitation for broom and gorse; but ivy, Daphne, and holly were found to be spreading into most sections of the forest interior. These shade tolerant species pose the biggest threat to the defining ecology of the Royal Roads property, which also includes some smaller Garry Oak sites. Removal is anticipated to be a long-term management commitment and includes methods such as hand pulling, brush cutting, herbicide applications and site soil remediation. This report, combined with a GIS theme and database of the survey and work plan, is a tool to assist the Department of National Defence and Royal Roads University in adaptively prescribing and monitoring removal and remediation of invasive plant species infestations, and recording and tracking the progress.