A Community-based Management Plan to Control Dog Strangling Vine in Kentville
Invasive species are a significant threat to biodiversity in the Kespukwitk/Southwest Nova Scotia priority place. The best method to combat invasive species is early detection and rapid response. The longer an invasive species is established, the more difficult and costly it is to eradicate. Therefore, it is important that once a new invasive species has been observed, quick and effective management is used to minimize the impact and reduce further spread. Currently, Dog Strangling Vine (DSV), a highly invasive plant, is contained enough in Nova Scotia that eradication is still possible, and the Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council (NSISC) has focused its management efforts on controlling this species in the province.
DSV actually refers to two plant species, Black Swallow-wort (Cynanchum louiseae) and Pale Swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum). These are highly invasive vines that choke out native plant species resulting in dense mats of DSV. In addition, they are a threat to the endangered Monarch butterfly by displacing its larval hosts, milkweeds. Field evidence also suggests Monarchs may mistakenly lay their eggs on DSV plants resulting in larvae that do not develop into adults.
A population of DSV was found in a community in Kentville NS. This is one of the two known locations of DSV in the province. Over the past two years, NSISC has been working with the municipality and the local community providing outreach and applying control measures to remove DSV from the area. NSISC has hosted two community weed pulls to increase community engagement in the project which has resulted in a reduction of DSV in the neighbourhood. Areas that were once dense mats of DSV have seen a reduction in DSV growth in the following year. Support from the community has been a major factor in decreasing DSV presence and reducing the potential for further spread. There are still several years ahead before DSV can be fully eradicated. However, the support from the community and current successes suggests eradication is still a possibility. The next step for DSV management in Nova Scotia is to apply the lessons learned from the Kentville population to the second DSV population in Dartmouth NS.
Hughstin Grimshaw-Surette, M.Sc. (he/him)
Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council
Email: [email protected]