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Publication Date


Document Type

Class Project


Environmental Science and Policy


The threat of invasive species to both biodiversity and human economy is well documented. Invasive plants outcompete local species, have environmental effects on their introduced ecosystems, and negatively impact the food and fiber industries. Management of invasives is a complicated but necessary subject. This study conducted a survey of invasive species at the site for the proposed Bechtel Environmental Classroom at MacLeish Field Station in order to support the petition for Living Building status under the International Living Building Institute’s Living Building Challenge. Living Buildings generally must be constructed on greyfield or brownfield sites, but the heads of the project at MacLeish hope to argue the point that the site is currently so overrun with invasive species due to past mismanagement that the construction of a Living Building will substantially improve the surrounding area. This study found four aggressive and harmful species covering approximately 60% of the proposed building site: Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), and wild or riverside grape (Vitis riparia). In addition to aiding the petition for Living Building status, this study also proposes low-impact methods of controlling the invasive species at MacLeish, such as use of goats to crop the site.


©2011 Colleen McGaughey