Foard, Meghan , Marsico, Travis .
Chinese privet invasion decreases botanical species richness in a riparian forest.
Some recent research suggests that species invasions are the second greatest cause of extinctions, while other scientists consider invasions a side effect of habitat loss. MacDougall and Turkington (2005) propose possible ways to identify the role invasive species play in the reduction of biodiversity. They suggest models to determine if invasive species are drivers of ecosystem degradation or if they are passengers on the ride of habitat alteration. One way to assess the drive of invasive species is to compare the diversity of species that remain in a fully invaded ecosystem to species diversity in similar habitats with less invasion. Invasive species that are considered drivers compete directly with native species for limiting resources, resulting in reduced species richness and biodiversity. Based on preliminary species richness survey data, we demonstrate that the invasive shrub, Ligustrum sinense (Chinese privet), is likely a driver of its own invasion. In the riparian zone along the Wolf River in Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, Memphis, Tennessee, we evaluate botanical species richness within sites that are fully invaded by L. sinense and sites with less L.sinense. Our inventory suggests that in areas with the highest L. sinense cover there is reduced botanical richness when compared with the lower privet areas. Based on currently identified collections, 38 species were found in areas with 90-100% L. sinense cover and 52 were found in areas with 60-89% cover. The species richness (S) is 37% higher in the less-invaded regions relative to the most invaded sites. The implications of these observations are that L. sinense is a driver and has reduced the richness of native species. Based on these field observations and a thorough literature review, we discuss best practices for implementing a recovery plan in L. sinense invaded ecosystems.
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1 - Arkansas State University, Department Of Biological Sciences / Marsico Lab, PO Box 599, Arkansas State University, State University, AR, 72467, USA
2 - Arkansas State University, Department Of Biological Sciences, PO Box 599, State University, AR, 72467, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM