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Forests 2015, 6(6), 1878-1896; doi:10.3390/f6061878

Short-Term Response of Native Flora to the Removal of Non-Native Shrubs in Mixed-Hardwood Forests of Indiana, USA

1
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2
Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC), Purdue University, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
3
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John Innes and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 6 March 2015 / Revised: 28 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 May 2015 / Published: 29 May 2015
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Abstract

While negative impacts of invasive species on native communities are well documented, less is known about how these communities respond to the removal of established populations of invasive species. With regard to invasive shrubs, studies examining native community response to removal at scales greater than experimental plots are lacking. We examined short-term effects of removing Lonicera maackii (Amur honeysuckle) and other non-native shrubs on native plant taxa in six mixed-hardwood forests. Each study site contained two 0.64 ha sample areas—an area where all non-native shrubs were removed and a reference area where no treatment was implemented. We sampled vegetation in the spring and summer before and after non-native shrubs were removed. Cover and diversity of native species, and densities of native woody seedlings, increased after shrub removal. However, we also observed significant increases in L. maackii seedling densities and Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) cover in removal areas. Changes in reference areas were less pronounced and mostly non-significant. Our results suggest that removing non-native shrubs allows short-term recovery of native communities across a range of invasion intensities. However, successful restoration will likely depend on renewed competition with invasive species that re-colonize treatment areas, the influence of herbivores, and subsequent control efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: Amur honeysuckle; spring ephemerals; Indiana; invasive plants; Lonicera maackii; Wilcoxon tests Amur honeysuckle; spring ephemerals; Indiana; invasive plants; Lonicera maackii; Wilcoxon tests
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Shields, J.M.; Saunders, M.R.; Gibson, K.D.; Zollner, P.A.; Dunning, J.B., Jr.; Jenkins, M.A. Short-Term Response of Native Flora to the Removal of Non-Native Shrubs in Mixed-Hardwood Forests of Indiana, USA. Forests 2015, 6, 1878-1896.

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