CNLA and MNLA Urge National Funding of Invasive Research

May 28, 2004 - 09:58

The Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association (CNLA) and the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) wrote letters to the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) urging a grant to support the research of Mark Brand, professor of ornamental horticulture at the University of Connecticut.

Brand has conducted ongoing research of DNA fingerprinting of invasive plants. The research correctly will require Brand to analyze at least a couple thousand DNA samples. "The money I am asking HRI for is mostly for consumable lab supplies," said Brand. "The kits and chemicals to do this type of analysis are relatively expensive."

The estimated cost of his project is just under $100,000. Six Connecticut nurseries have already pledged $10,000 to get Brand's work underway. The proposal was submitted to HRI around May 15, but Brand does not expect to hear back from them until the end of the year.

"One of the main issues right now is whether to ban cultivars of an invasive species or allow exceptions for those that pose less of an invasive threat," said Brand. "The DNA fingerprinting can be used as a model for any plant species."

"First and foremost, we need to seek out and fund scientific research that reviews, evaluates and classifies plants as invasive or not based on scientific definition and criteria," said Pat Bigelow, MCH of Bigelow Nurseries and past MNLA president in his article, "The Invasive Plant Issue: An Opportunity for Nursery Leadership." "The Horticultural Research Institute has already begun this process, and MNLA has been an active participant in the Massachusetts definition and criteria, gathering much information from the work done though ANLA and the University of Connecticut Extension."

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