Integration of Biological Control and Native Seeding to Restore Invaded Plant Communities

Authors


Address correspondence to K. J. Cutting, email kjc39@students.waikato.ac.nz

Abstract

Disturbed natural areas frequently experience invasion by introduced plant species that can reduce native biodiversity. Biological control can suppress these introduced species, but without restoration another introduced species can invade. Integration of biological control with concurrent revegetation can both aid in weed reduction via interspecific plant competition and establish a restored native plant community. This 3-year study investigated an integrated approach to controlling the introduced annual Mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata [L.] H. Gross [Polygonaceae]) using the biocontrol weevil Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and restoration planting using a native seed mix. A fully factorial design tested weevils and seeding, separately and together, using insecticide to eliminate weevils. The weevils together with the native seed mix reduced P. perfoliata percent cover in 2009 and 2010, and peak seed cluster production in 2010, compared to the insecticide − no seed control treatment. Persicaria perfoliata final dry biomass was reduced by 75% in 2010 and by 57% in 2011 in the weevils plus seed treatment compared to the control, with weevils having the greatest effect in 2010 and the seed treatment having the greatest impact in 2011. Results suggest an additive effect of biocontrol and seeding in suppressing P. perfoliata. Seeded treatments also developed the highest native plant species richness and diversity, comprised of spontaneous recolonization in addition to species from the seed mix. Results support the use of integrated management of this invasive weed, with suppression through biological control and native revegetation together helping prevent reinvasion while restoring native plant biodiversity.

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