Manchester Climbing Wall Study Area
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Study area summary
The Manchester Climbing Wall study area includes approximately 12.3 acres of park land and was divided into two smaller management units. The lead organization for the baseline study of this park section was VHB, who identified a total of 27 invasive plant species across all management units, including:
- 15 species ranked with high invasiveness;
- 8 species ranked with medium invasiveness; and,
- 4 species ranked with low invasiveness.
Based on the footprint the management units within this study area, only 2 of the 27 invasive plant species are considered dominant components of the overall forest community. However, in this case, the degree of overall infestation remains relatively high due to the larger diversity of invasive plants observed. The dominant plants were Chinese privet and English Ivy, which when combined accounted for approximately half of the vegetation within forested areas.
English ivy was particularly dense in forested portions of Management Unit 2, where the vine has spread across much of the forest floor and has ascended up many canopy trees. In addition, Non-forested areas and forest edges in Management Unit 2 were heavily invaded by another highly invasive plant, kudzu (Pueraria montana). While kudzu was not technically dominant throughout an entire management unit, if left untreated, the kudzu infestation will likely become dominant in the near future and further threaten the native plant community within the entire study area.
Native plants identified across all management units include upland tree species such black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), northern red oak, tulip tree, white oak, and American beech that are scattered through the forest canopy. Black locust is common in areas with more recent forest disturbance, and occasionally is found in small monotypic forest stands. The lower areas of the study area, primarily found within Management Unit 1, are dominated by willow oak (Quercus phellos), red maple, green ash, and spicebush. Due to active floodplain hydrology connections, floodwaters from the James River maintain much of this area as a natural palustrine wetland and limit the invasive of the upland invasive plants found in the adjacent management unit.
Updates from the study area
None at this time.