One or more individuals cut down multiple mature native grape vines in Linnean Park, perhaps with the intention of protecting the trees the vines inhabited. These vines, in fact, are not harmful to their host trees, and are beneficial for wildlife.
Often trees are invaded by English ivy, twining porcelainberry or oriental bittersweet. The non-native vines compete for photosynthesis advantage and are harmful and potentially terminal for the host. Native grape vines, on the other hand, only “hitch a ride” on their host. Their relationship with trees is “commensalistic,” meaning one organism uses another to get a better position in the environment but neither organism is harmed.
Migrating birds depend on grapes as a valuable food source to sustain energy for long flights. Resident birds seek shelter within the vines to withstand cold winter temperatures.
The vines were not cut recently. Three Linnean Park stewards – Linnean Park Partnership co-founders John Burwell and Marlene Berlin, and Erica Carlsson, an environmental protection specialist at District Department of Energy & Environment – noticed them during a walk through Linnean Park in February.
Cutting, pruning or removing any plants or trees throughout the park is prohibited except by certified and special permit holders, or under their direct, in-person supervision. Burwell is one of those certified experts. He has led many invasive removal and other park care events, and is planning more. Those interested in volunteering in Linnean Park should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex S. says
This has been problem in Rock Creek Park for several years. Natives have been killed along major trails.
David Falk says
We need someone with clout to talk the Peruvian Embassy to let specialists on their grounds to cut down the English ivy that is strangling the huge oak trees along Garrison Street. I am happy to help if someone would get in touch with me because I think I have, or can get, the name and telephone number of the Peruvian Embassy’s facilities manager.