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20 February 2024 Fifty-seven years of vegetation change on a Rhode Island utility right-of-way, Exeter, Rhode Island
Richard Stalter, Joseph Rachlin
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We describe the pattern of vegetation change at three sites on a utility right-of- way, Exeter, Rhode Island, over 57 years. Trees and tall shrubs were cut from the right-of-way in 1963. The stumps were chemically treated in 1963 with 2,4,5-T. Select hardwood species were treated again from 1965 to 2022 targeting only the taller trees and shrubs. Unwanted small woody and herbaceous vegetation was treated with a 2% solution of Vastian, while Polaris (.250%), Escort, and Arsenal (.250%) were applied to unwanted weeds, grasses, and woody taxa. There has been an increase in the number of vascular plant species at each of the three sites, especially at Site 2, where the number of taxa, 28, is nearly double the 15 taxa identified at the site in 1965. There was a significant increase in the number of monocots in 2022, especially Poaceae, including Poa sylvestris A. Gray, a new Rhode Island record. No nonnative taxa were identified in 1965, while eight were present in 2022. Parsimony analysis reveals a branch break between Sites 1b and 2b and Sites 1a, 2a, 3a, and 3b. This is best explained by soil moisture, community development, and succession.

Richard Stalter and Joseph Rachlin "Fifty-seven years of vegetation change on a Rhode Island utility right-of-way, Exeter, Rhode Island," The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 151(1), 42-50, (20 February 2024).
Received: 5 June 2023; Published: 20 February 2024
Parsimony analysis
Rhode Island
utility right-of-way
vegetation change
vegetation management
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