Forest Facelift at Mountain Lakes Preserve

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Friends of Princeton Open Space, in partnership with Princeton Municipality, began efforts to restore a section of heavily degraded forests within Mountain Lakes Preserve.  Last week,  the partnering organizations oversaw complete removal of invasive plants across the 2-acre restoration site, clearing the way for lasting improvements to the forest community. 

Dense thickets of aggressive, non-native plants, including Oriental photinia and exotic honeysuckles once dominated the forest floor. The invasive plants provided little value to local wildlife and heavily impacted the forests’ long term health and sustainability.

Before restoration work

Before restoration work

Invasive plant removal marks the first phase in the long-term ecological restoration of the forest community. Next, FOPOS and Princeton aims to reestablish a diversity of native plants, to the benefit of local wildlife and enjoyment of park visitors.  FOPOS will partner with local volunteers and school groups in the coming months to replant the forest floor with hundreds of beneficial shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Protective fencing will surround the site to provide a necessary barrier between the native seedlings and overabundant deer.

After invasive plant removal

After invasive plant removal

Funding and assistance for this project was also provided by Conservation Resources’ Franklin Parker Small Grant Program, and the NJ Fish and Widlife’s Partners Program.

If you’d like get involved with the project, please contact FOPOS’s naturalist at aelincompton@fopos.org.

And stay tuned!