Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) impacts on riparian forest structure and function, and improved techniques for its management: 5-year post-treatment evaluation

USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection (Southern Region) and Southern Research Station; Sandy Creek Nature Center; Georgia State Botanical Garden; University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry

SUMMARY: In 2005, researchers established a replicated series of 5-acre plots to quantify the effects of Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) on riparian forest ecosystems and to compare methods for restoring these ecosystems. The objectives of this study are to define the impacts of Chinese privet on riparian forest ecosystem structure, function and condition; investigate and improve techniques for large-scale management of Chinese privet in sensitive riparian areas; and increase public awareness of the damaging effects of Chinese privet on forest ecosystems, and demonstrate control strategies and ecosystem recovery to forestry professionals and the general public.

EFETAC'S ROLE: This project is supported by EFETAC funding.

STATUS: Completed

PROGRESS: Researchers examined the effect of privet removal on tree growth response, plant community progression toward a “desired condition,” pollinator community response, and decomposer community response. The plant communities on privet removal plots had much higher diversity and more of the area was covered by species other than privet than the untreated control plots. Several of the plots also contained a rare species not found on any of the privet infested control plots. Pollinators exhibited the same trend of much higher species diversity and abundance on plots where privet was removed. Tree growth and the decomposer community were unaffected by removal.

Related publications:

Hanula, J.L. and S. Horn. 2011. Removing an exotic shrub from riparian forests increases butterfly abundance and diversity. Forest Ecology and Management 262:674-680. (PDF)

Hanula, J.L. and S. Horn. 2011. Removing an invasive shrub (Chinese privet) increases native bee diversity and abundance in riparian forests of the southeastern United States. Insect Conservation and Diversity 4:275-283. (PDF)

Hanula, J.L., S. Horn, and J.W. Taylor. 2009. Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) removal and its effect on native plant communities of riparian forests. Invasive Plant Science and Management 2:292-300. (PDF)

Hanula, J. and J. Taylor. 2010. Controlling Chinese privet can be a grind. Forest Landowner January/February:34-36. (PDF)



  • Jim Hanula, Southern Research Station Research Entomologist, or (706) 559-4253
  • Scott Horn, Southern Research Station Entomologist, or (706) 559-4249
  • Mike Ulyshen, Southern Research Station Entomologist, or (662) 338-3129

Updated January 2014

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