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Invasive Species Threat: Buckthorn in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

In recent years, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has faced a growing threat from invasive species, notably the buckthorn plant. Buckthorn, including both common buckthorn and glossy buckthorn, poses a significant risk to the region’s biodiversity and ecosystem health. As a non-native species, buckthorn has thrived in the UP’s forests, outcompeting native vegetation and disrupting natural habitats.

The spread of buckthorn in the UP has raised concerns among environmental organizations and local authorities. One such entity actively engaged in combating invasive species is the Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA). KISMA serves as a vital resource for coordinating efforts to control and manage invasive species across the region.

“It’s the worst woody invasive I’ve seen in the UP,” says Sam Curley, a forestry major at Michigan Tech.

To address the buckthorn threat effectively, collaboration and proactive measures are essential. KISMA works tirelessly to raise awareness about the dangers posed by invasive species like buckthorn, and provides resources and assistance to landowners, municipalities, and conservation groups.

This past Thursday, the Sigma Rho fraternity and the Chassell fourth-grade class joined hands with KISMA to remove buckthorn from the walking trails around Chassell. This collaborative effort exemplifies the community’s commitment to combating invasive species and preserving the natural beauty of the UP.

If you encounter buckthorn on your property or in natural areas, it is crucial to take action promptly. Removing buckthorn requires careful planning and proper techniques to prevent further spread. KISMA offers guidance and support to individuals and organizations seeking to tackle invasive species on their land.

For those interested in learning more about buckthorn management or getting involved in conservation efforts, KISMA can be contacted via email at or by phone at (906) 487-1139. By working together and staying vigilant, we can protect Michigan’s natural heritage and preserve the beauty of the Upper Peninsula for future generations.

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