06/27/2013 09:19 EDT | Updated 08/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Volunteers clear Stanley Park of invasive English ivy

Four years after the project began, volunteers have finally finished combing through Stanley Park, stripping 8,000 trees, shrubs and stumps of English ivy.

While the invasive species is not poisonous, it chokes out branches of native species and when it reaches a certain height, it flowers and spreads.

The garden plant was originally brought over from Europe as an ornamental plant.

Park Board Commissioner Aaron Jasper says the four-year project is the result of a culmination of partnerships that began after a devastating windstorm struck the park in December 2006.

"The windstorm was the silver lining. The damage from the windstorm is what brought all the people together," he said.

The Stanley Park Ecology Society says it can now focus on removing other invasive species for several years, before it has to tackle the climbing ivy again.

More than 1,000 people have volunteered their time in the last year alone to fight invasive species in the park, where there's an estimated 72 non-native invasive species.