Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Urban foraging of five non-native plants in NYC: balancing ecosystem services and invasive species management.

Abstract

The practice of collecting wild plants, fungi, and other materials occurs in urban and peri-urban communities around the world, across various socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups, providing sustenance, medicine, materials, social cohesion, and an increased sense of connectedness with nature. Invasive plants, many of which were introduced and cultivated purposefully in the past, can be foraged to generate socioeconomic and cultural value for communities while simultaneously facilitating ecosystem services. I will profile several invasive plants common to New York City (NYC), purposefully introduced in the 18th-19th centuries, including Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), Norway maple (Acer platanoides), and white mulberry (Morus alba), providing an overview of the plants' cultivation history, socioeconomic value, and ecological threat. Partnerships between foraging communities and greenspace managers offer potential opportunities to support invasive species management in urban ecosystems. The goal of this article is to help shift the knowledge and management strategies around non-native plants in urban environments, so that their potential socioeconomic value and provisioning services received through urban foraging are accounted for in urban ecosystem management approaches.