Photos: Plague of Locuts

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Looking ethereal, a canopy of black locust leaves filters the summer sunlight through layers of green. Black locusts are not native to the Pine Bush or to the Northeast and are considered invasive, spreading rapidly. The 3,200-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve has over 400 acres dominated by black locust trees. In the past 15 years, the preserve commission has removed over 250 acres of black locust trees and restored the site to pine-barrens habitat.

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Ready to roll: Land-clearing equipment over the next five or six months will remove black locust trees — the trunk of one is in the foreground, next to the caterpillar track — and other non-native species from 47 acres of Pine Bush Preserve. This equipment is by the intersection of Route 155 and Washington Avenue Extension. In the spring, native grasses, wildflowers, and wild blue lupine will be planted; the lupine is essential to the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, which is being re-established in the pine bush.

The efforts are constant and ongoing to keep the Albany Pine Bush Preserve pine-barrens ecosystem, one of the few left in the world, intact. Current efforts include felling black locust trees.