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Effects of physical disturbance and granivory on establishment of native and alien riparian trees in Colorado, USA

Diversity and Distributions

By:
, , and
https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1472-4642.2001.00093.x

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Abstract

In western North America, the alien Elaeagnus angustifolia L. invades riparian habitats usually dominated by pioneer woody species such as Populus deltoides Marshall ssp. monilifera (Aiton) Eckenwalder. We conducted manipulative field experiments to compare the importance of physical disturbance and granivory for seedling establishment of these two species. We planted seeds of both species in disturbed and undisturbed study plots, and used exclosures, seed dish trials and live-trapping to assess the role of granivory. Seedling establishment of both species was increased by physical disturbance and seeds of both species were subject to granivory. However, the relative importance of these two factors differed between species. For P. deltoides, lack of physical disturbance prevented seedling establishment in uncleared subplots, but granivory did not prevent seedling establishment outside of exclosures. For E. angustifolia, granivory prevented seedling establishment outside of exclosures, but lack of physical disturbance did not prevent establishment in uncleared subplots. The lesser dependence on disturbance may enable E. angustifolia to invade areas characterized by low levels of fluvial disturbance, such as floodplains along regulated rivers, where P. deltoides recruitment does not occur. Populations of granivorous rodents may affect the susceptibility of riparian ecosystems to invasion by E. angustifolia.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of physical disturbance and granivory on establishment of native and alien riparian trees in Colorado, USA
Series title:
Diversity and Distributions
DOI:
10.1046/j.1472-4642.2001.00093.x
Volume:
7
Issue:
1-2
Year Published:
2001
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wiley
Contributing office(s):
Fort Collins Science Center
Description:
14 p.
First page:
1
Last page:
14