Scientists examine the relative impact of proximity to seed sources

August 17, 2018, Cambridge University Press
A Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) recruit, along with Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle), in a treefall gap in the SERC upland forest, near Edgewater, MD in 2014. Credit: Eva Kinnebrew

A new research study published in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management tackles an important, unresolved question in the biology of invasive plants. Which is most important to the establishment of new invasive communities—proximity to seed sources, canopy disturbance, or soil disturbance?

A research team from Miami University decided to compare those three factors in a mature Maryland forest where the invasive species wine raspberry, Japanese barberry, multiflora rose and Japanese stiltgrass are found.

Twice over a three-year interval, scientists conducted a complete census of invasive growing in a nine-hectare plot. Any invasives they found were mapped relative to the forest canopy, soil disturbances and an index of ' rain' that was based on proximity to reproducing plants and the distances seeds disperse.

The team found that seed rain was a significant predictor of where new plants of wine raspberry, Japanese barberry and Japanese stiltgrass established. Not enough seed sources were found to assess the impact of seed rain on multiflora rose.

Gaps in the were found to contribute to the establishment of multiflora rose and Japanese stiltgrass. Canopy gaps also promoted fruit production by Japanese barberry and wine raspberry—interacting with seed rain to increase the number of plants establishing in and near these areas.

Soil disturbances predicted the establishment of Japanese barberry, but not the other three invasive plants.

"These findings are especially useful for land managers with limited resources," says David Gorchov, Ph.D., a professor at Miami University. "If the you are battling have seed production or seedling growth strongly associated with new canopy gaps, you can target your control efforts in those areas with a high likelihood of success."

Explore further: Connecticut's forests today a far cry from towering giants of old

More information: Lauren N. Emsweller et al, Seed Rain and Disturbance Impact Recruitment of Invasive Plants in Upland Forest, Invasive Plant Science and Management (2018). DOI: 10.1017/inp.2018.14

Related Stories

Deer prefer native plants leaving lasting damage on forests

October 6, 2017

When rampant white-tailed deer graze in forests, they prefer to eat native plants over certain unpalatable invasive plants, such as garlic mustard and Japanese stiltgrass. These eating habits lower native plant diversity ...

Climate change puts invasive plants on the move

March 28, 2017

Climate change may force one of New England's invasive plant species to retreat north, while another will likely stay put and take over an even greater area, according to a new study by UConn faculty and former doctoral candidates.

Recommended for you

Fish-inspired material changes color using nanocolumns

March 20, 2019

Inspired by the flashing colors of the neon tetra fish, researchers have developed a technique for changing the color of a material by manipulating the orientation of nanostructured columns in the material.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.