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Title: Why does land-use history facilitate non-native plant invasion? A field experiment with Celastrus orbiculatus in the southern Appalachians

Author: Kuhman, Timothy R.; Pearson, Scott M.; Turner, Monica G.;

Date: 2013

Source: Biological Invasions 15(3): 613-626

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Although historic land use is often implicated in non-native plant invasion of forests, little is known about how land-use legacies might actually facilitate invasion. We conducted a 2-year field seeding experiment in western North Carolina, USA, to compare germination and first-year seedling survival of Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb. in stands that had been cultivated and abandoned a century earlier and were dominated by tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.), and in paired stands that had never been cultivated and were dominated by oaks (Quercus spp.). Experiments were conducted at five sites with paired tulip poplar and oak stands by varying litter mass (none, low, or high) and litter type (tulip poplar or oak). We also performed reciprocal soil translocations using pots seeded with C. orbiculatus. Soil moisture and temperature were measured throughout the growing season. Germination and survival were highest in the tulip poplar stands. Germination was also higher in plots with low litter mass. Seedling survival was highest in plots with low litter mass or no litter. Soil moisture was higher in tulip poplar stands and under low-mass litter. Differences in germination and survival among the potted plants were minimal, suggesting that soil type and ambient site conditions were less important than litter conditions for C. orbiculatus establishment. Our results suggest that the low litter mass and mesic soil conditions that are characteristic of tulip poplar stands may confer higher invasibility and explain the higher abundance of C. orbiculatus in areas with successional overstory communities associated with historically cultivated forests.

Keywords: Oriental bittersweet, Liriodendron tulipifera, Exotic species, Invasibility, Leaf litter, Soil moisture

Publication Notes:

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Kuhman, Timothy R.; Pearson, Scott M.; Turner, Monica G. 2013. Why does land-use history facilitate non-native plant invasion? A field experiment with Celastrus orbiculatus in the southern Appalachians. Biological Invasions 15(3): 613-626. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-012-0313-y.


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