The distribution and habitat associations of non-native plant species in urban riparian habitats
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
2006 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 17, Issue 4, pages 499–508, August 2006
How to Cite
Maskell, L.C., Bullock, J.M., Smart, S.M., Thompson, K. and Hulme, P.E. (2006), The distribution and habitat associations of non-native plant species in urban riparian habitats. Journal of Vegetation Science, 17: 499–508. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2006.tb02471.x
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 8 August 2005; Accepted 29 May 2006.
- Biological invasion;
- Habitat preference;
- Plant attribute;
- Species richness
- Stace (1991)
Questions: 1. What are the distribution and habitat associations of non-native (neophyte) species in riparian zones? 2. Are there significant differences, in terms of plant species diversity, composition, habitat condition and species attributes, between plant communities where non-natives are present or abundant and those where non-natives are absent or infrequent? 3. Are the observed differences generic to non-natives or do individual non-native species differ in their vegetation associations?
Location: West Midlands Conurbation (WMC), UK.
Methods: 56 sites were located randomly on four rivers across the WMC. Ten 2 m × 2 m quadrats were placed within 15 m of the river to sample vegetation within the floodplain at each site. All vascular plants were recorded along with site information such as surrounding land use and habitat types.
Results: Non-native species were found in many vegetation types and on all rivers in the WMC. There were higher numbers of non-natives on more degraded, human-modified rivers. More non-native species were found in woodland, scrub and tall herb habitats than in grasslands. We distinguish two types of communities with non-natives. In communities colonized following disturbance, in comparison to quadrats containing no non-native species, those with non-natives had higher species diversity and more forbs, annuals and shortlived monocarpic perennials. Native species in quadrats containing non-natives were characteristic of conditions of higher fertility and pH, had a larger specific leaf area and were less stress tolerant or competitive. In later successional communities dominated by particular non-natives, native diversity declined with increasing cover of non-natives. Associated native species were characteristic of low light conditions.
Conclusions: Communities containing non-natives can be associated with particular types of native species. Extrinsic factors (disturbance, eutrophication) affected both native and non-native species. In disturbed riparian habitats the key determinant of diversity is dominance by competitive invasive species regardless of their native or non-native origin.