How this group is giving wood from invasive species a second life
November 20, 2023 | 10:53 am CST

OTTAWA – A non-native tree species known as ‘common buckthorn’ has infiltrated a vast forested region in the west end of Ottawa, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report.

Sharon Boddy, director of The Friends of Carlington Woods, told CBC that the group is giving away wood from invasive non-native buckthorn which can be used for crafts and other projects.

The group is working on innovative ways to eradicate it. The woodworkers who are collecting the wood have made bowls, stick furniture, toys, and more out of the intrusive species. The species, which is originally from Europe, has already established itself in several local forests, including the Carlington Woods in Ottawa. 

Once it takes hold, removing it becomes a challenging task.

Rhamnus cathartica (Common Buckthorn)

The invasive and noxious plant is prevalent from roadsides and fence lines to forests and fields across Canada from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan, as reported by the Invasive Species Center. The group's goal to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species throughout the country.

"It reproduces very aggressively, and it grows prolifically," Derissa Vincentini, the Center's community science coordinator, informed the CBC. "It also has allelopathic characteristics, which means it releases chemicals into the soil which can inhibit the growth of other plants, including our native tree regeneration."

"I don't want to see it go to waste. I don't think it's a good philosophy for any stewardship or conservation group to adopt. Let's not waste anything, even if it's not meant to be here," Boddy told CBC. 

Friends of Carlington Woods said it plans to continue culling the buckthorn, giving it away to woodworkers and planting native species in its place.

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About the author
Dakota Smith | Editorial Intern

Dakota Smith is an undergraduate student at New Jersey City University studying English and Creative Writing. He is a writer at heart, and a cook by trade. His career goal is to become an author. At Woodworking Network, Dakota is an editorial intern, ready to dive into the world of woods and words.