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Invasive Plant Ecology and Management: Linking Processes to Practice. CABI Invasives Series, Volume 2

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Bringing together ecology and management of invasive plants within natural and agricultural ecosystems, this book bridges the knowledge gap between the processes operating within ecosystems and the practices used to prevent, contain, control and eradicate invasive plant species. The book targets key processes that can be managed, the impact of invasive plants on these ecosystem processes and illustrates how adopting ecologically based principles can influence the ecosystem and lead to effective land management.

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1 Managing Invasive Species in Heterogeneous Ecosystems

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Managing Invasive Species in

Heterogeneous Ecosystems

Joel R. Brown and Brandon T. Bestelmeyer

US Department of Agriculture, New Mexico State University, USA

Introduction

Ecologically based invasive plant management (Sheley et al., 2010) provides a mechanistic framework for diagnosing causes of plant invasions and selecting management responses. This approach requires the organization of multiple sources of information, much of which is highly dependent upon spatial and temporal context. Although there have been substantial efforts to identify the characteristics of successful invaders as a means to predict which plants are likely to be successful when introduced into new environments, the use of species attributes alone is a poor predictor of which plants will invade a particular landscape (Mack et al., 2000). In fact, many of the plants currently defined as ‘invaders’ in ecological terms and ‘noxious weeds’ in legal terms are native to the regions and landscapes, if not the plant communities, they invade. This combination of species attributes (invasiveness) and plant community or landscape susceptibility (invasibility) complicates the development of a universal set of principles for prediction, and even post hoc analysis, of the interactions of invasive plants and landscapes. Because the information necessary for successful implementation of management responses is so highly variable in both time and space, as well as by invasive species, a systematic approach to organization, analysis, and decision-making is essential.

 

2 Linking Disturbance Regimes, Vegetation Dynamics, and Plant Strategies Across Complex Landscapes to Mitigate and Manage Plant Invasions

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2

Linking Disturbance Regimes,

Vegetation Dynamics, and Plant

Strategies Across Complex

Landscapes to Mitigate and

Manage Plant Invasions

Samuel D. Fuhlendorf, Brady W. Allred, R. Dwayne

Elmore, and David M. Engle

Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State

University, USA

Introduction

Composition and structure of ecosystems have long been described as dynamic, but a recent focus on invasive species has revitalized discussion of assembly rules and dynamics of species composition. For rangelands, our understanding of species invasions focused first on the effects of woody plant encroachment on livestock production. Recent research emphasizes intentional and accidental introduction of exotic species that are capable of dramatic changes to ecosystem structure and function. Increased attention to invasive species, including woody plants, has altered our understanding and methods of describing rangeland dynamics. In early

20th-century descriptions of rangeland dynamics, grazing was seen as the primary driver that produced dynamics with predictable, linear, and reversible patterns.

 

3 Land-use Legacy Effects of Cultivation on Ecological Processes

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Land-use Legacy Effects of

Cultivation on Ecological

Processes

Lesley R. Morris

US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Utah

State University, USA

Introduction

Land-use legacies are long-lasting changes in ecosystems following human utilization of resources. Cultivation for crop production is known worldwide for creating land-use legacies that can persist for decades, centuries, and even millennia (Foster et al.,

2003; McLauchlan, 2006). These legacies are important because they represent fundamental changes in basic ecosystem processes such as plant species reproduction and colonization, soil nutrient cycling and availability, and soil water movement and availability. When these basic processes are interrupted, old fields can become more difficult to manage and potentially impossible to restore to the pre-disturbance native plant community. Cultivation (plowing, seeding, and harvesting a crop annually) involves both soil disturbance and the sowing and harvesting of the intended crop.

 

4 Resource Pool Dynamics: Conditions That Regulate Species Interactions and Dominance

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Resource Pool Dynamics:

Conditions That Regulate Species

Interactions and Dominance

A. Joshua Leffler1 and Ronald J. Ryel2

1

US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, USA

Department of Wildland Resources and the Ecology Center, Utah

State University, USA

2

Introduction

A primary obstacle in the restoration of native plant communities dominated by invasive exotic species is the limited capacity managers have to influence ecological processes that perpetuate the undesired condition. Although much attention has been given to understanding how disturbances lead to invasion (Sher and Hyatt,

1999; Davis et al., 2000; Davis and Pelsor,

2001), the physiological and morphological differences between invasive and noninvasive plant species (Pyšek and Richardson, 2007), the existence of multiple stable ecosystem states and the transitions among them (Sutherland, 1974; Westoby et al.,

1989; Briske et al., 2003), and feedbacks that keep invasive plants entrenched on the landscape (Schlesinger et al., 1990;

 

5 Invasive Plant Impacts on Soil Properties, Nutrient Cycling, and Microbial Communities

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Invasive Plant Impacts on Soil

Properties, Nutrient Cycling, and

Microbial Communities

Thomas A. Grant III and Mark W. Paschke

Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Watershed Stewardship,

Colorado State University, USA

Introduction

Prior to the 19th century biological invasions were probably infrequent, natural events that contributed to a diverse and ever evolving patchwork of species and ecosystems. The dramatic increase in the human population and our influence over the earth’s biotic and abiotic systems has created a world that is dominated by the effects of humans (Vitousek et al., 1997). In general, humans have rapidly increased the movement of flora and fauna across what were once natural barriers to migration or survival and the consequences are now termed ‘biological invasions’ (Elton, 1958).

All organisms influence and modify their environment, whether through competitive interactions that alter species composition, the addition or removal of resources, or the transformation of habitat and large-scale ecosystem processes. To successfully manage invasive species, it is critical that we understand how these species interact and modify their novel environment and use this knowledge to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of management practices. This chapter will specifically address the impacts of invasive plants on the soil, including the physical and chemical composition of soil, litter decomposition and biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, and soil microbial communities. The primary emphasis will focus on the impacts of invasive species on these systems and utilizing this knowledge

 

6 Weather Variability, Ecological Processes, and Optimization of Soil Micro-environment for Rangeland Restoration

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Weather Variability, Ecological

Processes, and Optimization of

Soil Micro-environment for

Rangeland Restoration

Stuart P. Hardegree, Jaepil Cho, and

Jeanne M. Schneider

US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, USA

Introduction

Precipitation, solar radiation, wind speed, air temperature, and humidity are principal drivers controlling energy and water flux in plant communities. Climate is defined as the long-term average representation of these variables, and their seasonal pattern.

Rangelands are generally characterized by an arid or semi-arid climate with plant communities dominated by grassland, shrubsteppe, and savanna vegetation. Gross climatic variability generally determines the suitability of both native and introduced plant materials for rangeland restoration and rehabilitation (Shown et al., 1969; Shiflet,

1994; Barbour and Billings, 2000; Vogel et al., 2005; USDA, 2006). Unfortunately, the micro-environmental requirements for germination, emergence, and seedling establishment are much more restrictive than the longer term climatic requirements for maintenance of mature plant communities

 

7 The Effects of Plant-Soil Feedbacks on Invasive Plants: Mechanisms and Potential Management Options

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The Effects of Plant–Soil

Feedbacks on Invasive Plants:

Mechanisms and Potential

Management Options

Valerie T. Eviner1 and Christine V. Hawkes2

1

2

Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, USA

Section of Integrative Biology, The University of Texas, USA

Introduction

There are countless examples of management projects that have attempted to decrease or eradicate invasive species at a site, only to have them rapidly recolonize within a few years. While this is often attributed to reinvasion through propagules remaining at the site, or high propagule pressure from the surrounding landscape (Leung et al., 2004;

Lockwood et al., 2005), this also may be due to invasive species changing site conditions to favor conspecifics over native species.

Many studies have documented that invasive plants can impact numerous soil properties and processes (Leffler and Ryel, Chapter 4, this volume; Ehrenfeld, 2010), and that invader impacts on soil can influence competitive dynamics between plant species, often favoring the invaders (Callaway and

 

8 Species Performance: the Relationship Between Nutrient Availability, Life History Traits, and Stress

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Species Performance: the

Relationship Between Nutrient

Availability, Life History Traits, and

Stress

Jeremy J. James

US Department of Agriculture, Eastern Oregon Agricultural

Research Center, USA

Introduction

Differences in species performance (i.e. how a species captures and utilizes resources to maintain and increase population size) influence the rate and direction of plant community change (Sheley et al., 2006).

Species performance is determined by a number of interacting factors. This includes resource supply rates, physiological traits that determine how a species affects and responds to the environment, life history traits that determine patterns of birth, mortality, and growth of individuals in a population, as well as abiotic and biotic stressors such as herbivory or drought.

Researchers and land managers long have recognized that our ability to predict and manage the spread of invasive species directly depends on our understanding of the processes that differentially impact the performance of invasive and native plants.

 

9 Reducing Invasive Plant Performance: a Precursor to Restoration

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Reducing Invasive Plant

Performance: a Precursor to

Restoration

Joseph M. DiTomaso1 and Jacob N. Barney2

1 Department

2 Department

of Plant Sciences, University of California, USA of Plant Pathology, Virginia Tech, USA

Introduction

Most non-native plants in natural areas do not out-compete native species or cause significant impacts to ecosystem function

(Rejmánek, 2000, 2011; Smith and Knapp,

2001). It has been estimated that <10% of invasive species that have established and persist in natural areas actually transform the ecosystem by changing the character, condition, form, or nature of an area

(Richardson et al., 2000). There are many theories and reviews on why species become invasive, including release from natural enemies and herbivores in their native range

(Keane and Crawley, 2002; Daehler, 2003), improved competitive ability through a shift in allocation from defense to growth

(Blossey and Nötzold, 1995), and the development of novel growth or functional forms in invasive species that have competitive advantages over native species

 

10 Revegetation: Using Current Technologies and Ecological Knowledge to Manage Site Availability, Species Availability, and Species Performance

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Revegetation: Using Current

Technologies and Ecological

Knowledge to Manage Site

Availability, Species Availability, and Species Performance

Jane M. Mangold

Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences,

Montana State University, USA

Introduction

Plant community – Undesired state

For sites severely degraded by exotic invasive plants, simply controlling the weed to release desirable plants from competition may not be adequate. Introducing propagules of desired species through revegetation may be required. Revegetation is a resource-intensive venture that often results in less than optimum outcomes. Successional management (Pickett et al., 1987; Sheley et al., 1996;

Krueger-Mangold et al., 2006), in which site availability, species availability, and species performance are manipulated to direct plant communities from an undesirable state to a desirable state, may serve as a useful framework for assessing site conditions, choosing exotic plant control methods and revegetation strategies, and planning follow-up management (Fig. 10.1). Designing revegetation programs that are based on our best understanding of the primarily ecological processes responsible for plant community dynamics at a given site, may initiate outcomes that more fully meet management objectives. This chapter will briefly address the ecological theory for revegetation. Then, current revegetation strategies, limitations of those strategies, and new approaches for revegetation will be described in the context of site availability, species availability, and species performance.

 

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