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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Huebner, Cynthia D. [1].

Changes in invasive plant species abundance over five years in disturbed and undisturbed forests.

Invasive plants establish and spread because they are opportunists, superior competitors, or both. As opportunists, invasive plants take advantage of disturbance-related resource changes. The goal of this study was to determine if existing exotic plant species cover in both disturbed and undisturbed forests increased over time, and if the increases were most likely to occur in disturbed forests and mesic land types. Forty-eight stands in a deciduous temperate forest with half in each of two disturbance types (80+ year-old second growth forests and 15-year old clear cuts) were selected with 7-9 stands in each of three land types. The 80+ stands were sampled in May-July in 2001 and again in 2006; the clear cuts were sampled in May-July in 2002 and again in 2007. Differences in percent cover of all plant species, with a focus on the exotics and common native species, were determined and compared using a Kruskal-Wallis test. There were 5 exotic (2 invasive) plants in the 80+ stands in 2001 and 6 exotic (1 invasive) plants in 2006. There were 18 exotic (5 invasive) plants in the clear cuts in 2002 and 16 exotic (5 invasive) plants in 2007. Only Rosa multiflora significantly increased in cover, and only in the clear cuts. There was no significant relationship between R. multiflora change in cover and land type. Changes in cover of three common native species that are not preferred by deer all increased significantly in the clear cuts but not in the 80+ stands. There were no significant changes in cover related to land type or disturbance for two native species preferred by deer. These findings confirm that the invasive species found in these stands were opportunists who responded positively to disturbance, but were not superior competitors. Similar increases in cover in the clear cuts were also found for some of the native species.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 180 Canfield St., Morgantown, WV, 26505, USA

invasive plant
Rosa multiflora
deciduous temperate forests
change in abundance.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEC015
Abstract ID:8

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