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Keywords:

  • Alliaria petiolata;
  • competition;
  • edge effects;
  • forest fragmentation;
  • Sanguinaria canadensis

Abstract

One of the proximate results of forest fragmentation, and a cause of continued microenvironmental change and exacerbation of ecological problems, is increased invasions by weedy plant species. One such example is Alliaria petiolata (Brassicaceae), a serious pest threatening much of eastern North America. Alliaria petiolata impedes mitigation of fragmentation and restoration efforts because it tends to outcompete and possibly extirpate much of the native understory species on localized scales. As part of a strategy to address the problems of fragmented habitats, an experiment was conducted to determine whether Sanguinaria canadensis (Papaveraceae) could outcompete A. petiolata. Using an additive design, I transplanted S. canadensis at densities of 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 15, and 20 ramets/m2 in 1997 and allowed them to interact with initial A. petiolata densities of 128 seedlings and 31 rosettes/m2. As of 2000, multivariate analyses of variance with repeated measures and simple analyses of variance indicated that initial S. canadensis densities of as little as 5 ramets/m2 suppressed A. petiolata. Initial S. canadensis densities of 9 and 11 ramets/m2 resulted in the lowest numbers of late-spring seedlings, numbers and sizes of year 1 and 2 rosettes, numbers and gross areas of stem leaves, numbers of flowering individuals, number of flowers, number of fruits (siliques), and height at flowering. While it remains to be tested whether this will continue and if the reestablishment of S. canadensis will help reassemble forest ecosystems, the experiments indicated that transplanting S. canadensis was effective at mitigating the spread of A. petiolata.