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Secondary Invasions: Implications of Riparian Restoration for In-Stream Invasion by an Aquatic Grass


Address correspondence to S. E. Loo, email


The complex nature of ecosystems with multiple invaders requires whole-system approaches to ecosystem management. Undesirable, unintended secondary effects may occur if interspecific interactions are ignored. Although degraded riparian zones urgently need effective restoration, broad-scale removal of introduced tree species (e.g., willows [Salix spp.]) and fencing of riparian zones to exclude livestock may facilitate spread of the invasive aquatic grass Glyceria maxima in southeastern Australia. We recorded occurrence of the grass at riparian sites with different amounts of woody vegetation, including willows, and monitored spread for 2 years in locations with and without livestock. Glyceria maxima occurred more frequently at sites with little or no woody riparian vegetation. Larger, older patches fenced from livestock spread fastest. Analyses of costs of controlling G. maxima with herbicide showed that it is more cost-effective to eradicate small patches than large patches if locations are known. However, the cost per m2 reduction in patch size is cheaper for larger patches. We recommend that small, young patches should be eradicated as soon as detected and show that spread of large source patches can be controlled effectively with continued spraying over several years. If restoration of waterways is to succeed, riparian management strategies must recognize connectivity between riparian and freshwater habitats.

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