Habitat conservation

Habitat conservation work at Dahlem – March 2024 Update

Dahlem’s mission is to provide environmental education and outdoor experiences to the residents of South-central Michigan. This includes maintaining natural habitats for you to explore and learn about.

Graphic: Habitat conservation area. What: invasive plant removal. Why: to restore natural habitat. Dahlem Jackson's Nature Place logoTo maintain our natural habitats, we are working to control encroaching invasive species. Invasive species are plants or animals that are not native to our area and cause harm to our ecosystems.

We have been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and the district conservationist to create a conservation plan for Dahlem. This conservation plan outlines work over the next several years to improve and maintain habitat at Dahlem. A key goal of this conservation plan is invasive species removal and control.

Unfortunately, many invasive plant species are found here at Dahlem. Autumn olive, buckthorn, oriental bittersweet, and honeysuckle are a few examples. These plants are fast growing and out compete our native plants for sunlight, nutrients, and space.  Invasive species impact the diversity of plants and quality of habitat for wildlife. They also impact the health of ecosystems people rely on.

Our focus for removal and control of invasive species will be in areas where they have begun to out compete our native plants and take over.  Physical removal, such as cutting and mowing, as well as targeted chemical control and prescribed burning are methods we will be using to control invasive plant species.

In early 2024, we completed our initial large physical removal project by working with a forestry mulching contractor. Removing invasive shrubs and vegetation has opened many areas and will allow native plants a chance to fill in those spaces. The regeneration process takes time and will need continued monitoring and maintenance.

As you visit Dahlem in the coming months we want you to be aware of the following: 

  • There has been a large amount of vegetation and shrubs removed from some areas.
  • You will notice the change in appearance for some of the areas is dramatic.

  • There may be flagging and signage around the grounds where invasive species control work has been or is being done.

While the changes you will see may seem detrimental, the plants removed are invasive. In the coming years you will see native species return to those locations.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with USDA-NRCS on this conservation plan. Completing this important conservation work will help our natural areas flourish.

Learn more about invasive species with these resources: