Elisabeth Ward

Elisabeth Ward

This study aims to advance knowledge of the impacts of lianas on soil processes by examining the relationship between woody vine abundance and C and N availability in invaded, un-invaded, and restored forest plots in NYC’s forested natural areas.

2017 Urban Fellow

Research Topic: Land Use Planning and Management

Faculty Advisor: Mark Bradford

Impacts of Invasive Woody Vines on Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics in Forested Urban Natural Areas: Implications for Ecology and Management

Many cities are implementing efforts to restore natural areas through native plantings and invasive species removal, and woody vines are a leading concern in urban forest management. Vines are disturbance-adapted plants that thrive in urban systems, and they aggressively compete with trees for light, water, and nutrients. By increasing tree mortality and reducing regeneration, invasive vines may alter the future structure, composition, and function of forest communities. Although urban forest management typically focuses on aboveground treatments, invasive vines can also impact belowground processes, including the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles, and these changes may persist in the soil following restoration. To ensure that land managers attain desired, self-sustaining restoration outcomes, it is critical to understand the impacts of vines on urban forest function as well as any potential legacy effects following their removal. This study examines the relationship between woody vine abundance and C and N availability in invaded, uninvaded, and restored forest plots in New York City.