Clemson students publish guide to state’s invasive plants
CLEMSON — South Carolina residents may finally rid their landscapes of that pesky kudzu or other invasive plants thanks to a new publication from Clemson University and the South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council.
As part of a Creative Inquiry project, Clemson University students Margie Lund of Lexington and Diego Soriano of Maquoketo, Iowa, researched the state’s most threatening non-native species and developed the 76-page Exotic Invasive Species in South Carolina guide to offer methods and tips to identify invasive plants.
The guide is a publication of Clemson University Extension, the Clemson forestry and environmental conservation department and the Exotic Pest Plant Council, which developed a prioritized list of invasive species described in the publication. The council is a nonprofit organization focused on managing invasive species through education and outreach.
“Invasive plants create economic and environmental problems, overtaking agricultural crops, threatening natural ecological communities and degrading wildlife habitats,” said Lauren Pile, the council president and a Clemson doctoral student who oversaw the project.
The last printed guide to South Carolina’s invasive plant species was eight pages and included information about just 10 non-native, invasive plants. The new publication provides information on more than 50 species, as well as a one-page list of “emerging threats” being monitored.
The publication includes more photos, descriptions, ecological information and management guidelines for each species listed. The book also contains maps that show documented cases by county for each invasive species — a new feature to the publication — and detailed photographs. Information is provided for invasive trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and herbs.
Copies of the publication can be requested by contacting the S.C. Exotic Pest Plant Council at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies of the publication also have been provided to Extension offices in all 46 counties of the state.
Soriano, a junior forestry major, and Lund, who graduated in May and is pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Michigan. Pile received her bachelor’s degree from American Military University and a master’s of forest resources from Clemson University. Now pursuing her doctorate in forestry resources, Pile focuses her research primarily on developing integrated methods for the control of Chinese tallow.
Creative Inquiry is a unique program that gives Clemson University undergraduate students the opportunity to work on research projects that span disciplines and multiple semesters. Students work in teams with faculty mentors, take ownership of their projects and take the risks necessary to solve problems and get answers. Creative Inquiry participants develop critical thinking skills, learn to solve problems and hone their communication and presentation skills. For more information, go to www.clemson.edu/ci.