Event Title

Multi-trophic effects of buckthorn removal

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Publication Date

5-8-2022

Degree Name

Great Lakes Ecosystem Science

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Description

Non-native invasive species often displace native species, reducing species richness of invaded communities in the process. European buckthorn, (Rhamnus cathartica), is a well-established non-native woody species in North America that frequently displaces native plant species in its invaded North American range, often growing in dense, monotypic stands. I investigated the multi-trophic effects of buckthorn removal, assessing the effects of buckthorn removal buckthorn on the food web in a restored landscape at three levels of removal: Native, in which buckthorn was being actively managed and removed, Open Buckthorn, in which buckthorn has never been removed and allowed to grow into mature trees, and Closed Buckthorn, in which Buckthorn was removed in 2009, but allowed to grow back as dense, monotypic thickets of shrubbery.

Native plots had the highest number of plant species, with fewer species in both buckthorn treatments. Abundance of bees was highest in Native plots, with significantly lower occurrences in plots in both open and closed buckthorn. Results were similar for leaf-litter dwelling beetles, with significantly higher numbers of beetles occurring in native plots without buckthorn. Mice preferred to live in the closed buckthorn, with occurrences significantly higher in closed buckthorn than open buckthorn and native plots.

In short, European buckthorn alters community structure in North American woodlands by overtaking it: this invader driven march toward sameness starts by decreasing native plant diversity, and in turn decreasing the occurrence of important pollinators and detritivores, simplifying the community, shortening the food web, and causing biodiversity loss.

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Aug 5th, 12:00 AM

Multi-trophic effects of buckthorn removal

Non-native invasive species often displace native species, reducing species richness of invaded communities in the process. European buckthorn, (Rhamnus cathartica), is a well-established non-native woody species in North America that frequently displaces native plant species in its invaded North American range, often growing in dense, monotypic stands. I investigated the multi-trophic effects of buckthorn removal, assessing the effects of buckthorn removal buckthorn on the food web in a restored landscape at three levels of removal: Native, in which buckthorn was being actively managed and removed, Open Buckthorn, in which buckthorn has never been removed and allowed to grow into mature trees, and Closed Buckthorn, in which Buckthorn was removed in 2009, but allowed to grow back as dense, monotypic thickets of shrubbery.

Native plots had the highest number of plant species, with fewer species in both buckthorn treatments. Abundance of bees was highest in Native plots, with significantly lower occurrences in plots in both open and closed buckthorn. Results were similar for leaf-litter dwelling beetles, with significantly higher numbers of beetles occurring in native plots without buckthorn. Mice preferred to live in the closed buckthorn, with occurrences significantly higher in closed buckthorn than open buckthorn and native plots.

In short, European buckthorn alters community structure in North American woodlands by overtaking it: this invader driven march toward sameness starts by decreasing native plant diversity, and in turn decreasing the occurrence of important pollinators and detritivores, simplifying the community, shortening the food web, and causing biodiversity loss.