ResearchEnvironmental Research — Herbicides and the Environment
The potential impact of vegetation management herbicides has been studied almost as long as they have been used. The environment is always an essential element to account for when managing vegetation. Using management tools such as mowing, herbicides, biological or a combination of methods all can have an effect on surrounding ecosystems. There are numerous studies that examine the different management methods as they relate to environmental impact.

Maintaining the biodiversity of the landscape has been an increasing concern for vegetation managers over the past few decades. It’s the main driver for habitat managers looking to remove invasive species from native settings. Lessons learned in those programs can be applied to all manners of vegetation control. No matter how you look at it, vegetation management is best executed when three goals are met: safety for workers, reliability of infrastructure and maintaining a healthy biodiverse area.

Maintaining Biodiversity Using Herbicides

The need for biodiversity isn’t new – and neither is the research that’s been conducted to determine the best way to make it happen.

Biodiversity is nothing more than a technical term for a simple concept – allow native plant and wildlife habitats to thrive. Enhancing biodiversity in a region means improving an area’s wildlife and plant habitat by controlling unwanted vegetation. And herbicides can play a key role in achieving this. Combined with other management methods, selective herbicides oftentimes promote a native prairie type ground cover that not only discourages woody plant infestations, but also improves wildlife habitat.

This isn’t just an opinion. It’s backed by more than 60 years of scientific research.

Bramble and Byrnes Environmental Research: Game Lands 33

In 1953, a group of inquisitive researchers hiked out to one of Pennsylvania Electric Co.’s transmission lines, set up some instruments and began to measure the effects of vegetation management on wildlife.

Now, more than 60 years later, the research of these dedicated Purdue University scientists continues, with some of the industry's most useful information being gathered from the Game Lands 33 research site. The researchers' names – Drs. William Bramble and William Byrnes – have become synonymous with the term "biodiversity."

This project has produced numerous studies and findings. A full listing can be found on the Bramble & Byrnes site.