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Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 249; doi:10.3390/su9020249

Exotic Invasive Shrub Glossy Buckthorn Reduces Restoration Potential for Native Forest Herbs

1
Department of Biology, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
2
Fiducie de Recherche sur la Forêt des Cantons-de-l’Est/Eastern Townships Forest Research Trust, 1 rue Principale, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, QC J0B 2M0, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration for Sustainable Forest Management)
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Abstract

Invasive glossy buckthorn could reduce restoration potential for understory native forest herbs by compromising their growth and biodiversity. Few studies of glossy buckthorn’s effects on forest herbs exist, and none were done in early-successional, partially open hardwood forests. This study was conducted in a mature hybrid poplar plantation invaded by buckthorn, located in southeastern Québec. We tested the effect of buckthorn removal on the growth of three forest herb species, whether this effect varied among species, and if canopy type (two poplar clones) influenced this effect. Forest herbs were planted in herbicide (buckthorn removed) and control treatments in the plantation understory, an environment similar to that of early-successional hardwood forests. Over the first two growing seasons, species showed specific reactions to buckthorn cover. Mean relative growth rate (RGR) for Asarum canadense and Polygonatum pubescens was increased in the herbicide treatment (48% and 33%, respectively) and decreased in the control treatment (−35% and −33%, respectively). Sanguinaria canadensis growth was the highest among species, with no difference between treatments. No effects of canopy type were detected. Results suggest that planting forest herbs for restoration purposes may be unsuccessful if buckthorn is present. Important changes in understory flora biodiversity are likely to occur over the long term in forests invaded by buckthorn. View Full-Text
Keywords: Frangula alnus; introduced species; eastern North America; southeastern Québec; understory biodiversity; early-successional forests; poplar plantation; bloodroot; wild ginger; Solomon’s seal Frangula alnus; introduced species; eastern North America; southeastern Québec; understory biodiversity; early-successional forests; poplar plantation; bloodroot; wild ginger; Solomon’s seal
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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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Hamelin, C.; Gagnon, D.; Truax, B. Exotic Invasive Shrub Glossy Buckthorn Reduces Restoration Potential for Native Forest Herbs. Sustainability 2017, 9, 249.

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