Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Native and Exotic Plant Growth and Restoration over time.

Presenter Information

Molly Van EngelenhovenFollow

Class

Article

Department

Wildland Resources

Faculty Mentor

Andrew Kulmatiski

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Exotic invasive plants have had tremendous ecological and economic impacts over the past century. However, these invaders tend to be fast-growing species that are most successful in disturbed areas. This suggests that these types of early-successional species should become less abundant over time where disturbances are removed, which has not happened yet. Here, we use a survey of the vegetation in 16,000 sampled plots, over 10 years, in 25 abandoned agricultural fields and adjacent undisturbed fields, to test whether exotic invasive species have become less abundant with time since abandonment, whether or not natives re-invade exotic-dominated fields, and if exotics expand their ranges into undisturbed areas. The 25 fields surveyed were abandoned from agriculture between 1950 and 2000 and so represent a 50 year chronosequence of agricultural abandonment. A previous review of a subset of this data suggested that natives are not re-invading and exotics are not invading undisturbed communities. Using these 10 years of direct observation, we find that natives are re-invading ex-arable fields. Our results suggest that the time-for-space substitution assumption of chronosequencing, used in the prior study, may not be appropriate and that disturbance may be a critical factor for exotic plant dominance. Therefore, removing disturbance may allow natural native plant re-establishment.

Start Date

4-9-2015 9:00 AM

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Apr 9th, 9:00 AM

Native and Exotic Plant Growth and Restoration over time.

Exotic invasive plants have had tremendous ecological and economic impacts over the past century. However, these invaders tend to be fast-growing species that are most successful in disturbed areas. This suggests that these types of early-successional species should become less abundant over time where disturbances are removed, which has not happened yet. Here, we use a survey of the vegetation in 16,000 sampled plots, over 10 years, in 25 abandoned agricultural fields and adjacent undisturbed fields, to test whether exotic invasive species have become less abundant with time since abandonment, whether or not natives re-invade exotic-dominated fields, and if exotics expand their ranges into undisturbed areas. The 25 fields surveyed were abandoned from agriculture between 1950 and 2000 and so represent a 50 year chronosequence of agricultural abandonment. A previous review of a subset of this data suggested that natives are not re-invading and exotics are not invading undisturbed communities. Using these 10 years of direct observation, we find that natives are re-invading ex-arable fields. Our results suggest that the time-for-space substitution assumption of chronosequencing, used in the prior study, may not be appropriate and that disturbance may be a critical factor for exotic plant dominance. Therefore, removing disturbance may allow natural native plant re-establishment.