Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Black cherry: forest pest or forest tree, a context dependent perception.

Abstract

North-west European forest ecologists and forest managers perceived, and some still perceive, Black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh. var. serotina) as their "enemy". In this paper we trace the history of this Northeast-American tree species in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland and address the question whether Black cherry is causing silvicultural and ecological problems in the forest ecosystem or can be beneficial to fulfil ecosystem services. We argue that Black cherry does both, depending on the context in which forest ecologists and forest managers are operating. Relying on research and experiences in the four mentioned countries we bring evidence for the necessity to consider the general silvicultural context when evaluating the need and the possibility to integrate this naturalised tree species in forest ecosystems.