The Honeysuckle Sustainability Project addresses the invasive species Lonicera maackii and Lonicera japonica that have overtaken the native habitat of the Maryville campus. This project is a management plan that restores native ecosystems, reduces bio-waste through product development, and promotes community education and involvement. This plan is designed to be transferable for other invasive species and other institutions.
Our lab investigates the effectiveness of a variety of treatment methods for controlling honeysuckle plants that includes girdling, cutting, spraying, pulling, and grazing. The bio-waste generated from the removal of adult honeysuckle plants is used to develop sustainable products that offset the cost of management. Juvenile honeysuckle plants are controlled annually, mainly through grazing by goats that are brought to campus. This project educates the community on the negative impacts of invasive plant species and the importance of biodiversity in a healthy ecosystem in two main ways. Maryville University hosts educational events such as “Goat Week” on campus that serve as a teaching module about invasive species management for other schools and community groups. Second, all products made from honeysuckle biomass include educational information about sustainability and biodiversity.