Integrating revegetation with management methods to rehabilitate coastal vegetation invaded by Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata) in Australia



Two multi-year field experiments investigated the effects of integrating revegetation with invasive plant management methods to rehabilitate coastal dune and woodland vegetation invaded by Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera (L.) Norl. ssp. rotundata (DC.) Norl.) in New South Wales, Australia. The revegetation technique used was to sow directly seeds of three native species common to coastal habitats. Management treatments involved combinations of prescribed fire, manual removal of Bitou bush and an application of herbicide. Addition of native seeds significantly increased density of native species in both habitats. The benefits of manually removing Bitou bush were observed only where densities of native species were at their lowest. Fire increased densities of some native species in the woodland, but decreased those of others in the dune. Densities of Acacia longifolia ssp. sophorae (Labill.) Court (woodland) and of Banksia integrifolia L.f. (woodland and dune) were significantly reduced within 4 months of herbicide application, alone or in combination with other treatments. The majority of these effects, however, did not persist. Manual removal in both habitats and addition of seed in the woodland were most effective in reducing Bitou bush densities when applied post-fire. Herbicide treatment on its own or in combination with other treatments did not significantly reduce Bitou bush densities by the end of the experiments. We conclude that restoration of coastal ecosystems invaded by a major invasive plant species requires a whole-of-system approach involving revegetation in combination with known management methods to assist recovery of native species in the longer term.