Invasive species have been causing important and irreversible impacts to native species and communities of ecosystems. They distort ecosystem functions by degrading forest lands, wetlands, and agricultural habitats and replace the native vegetation and reduce biodiversity, forest productivity, and suitable wildlife habitat. To address disturbances caused by invasive species occurrence, further information is needed regarding the occurrence, extent, and dispersal of invasive species and how land use may increase the spread of these species. The objective of this study was to find the frequency and dominance of three invasive species common to riparian areas of east Alabama: Ligustrum sinense (Chinese privet), Elaeagnus pungens (silverthorn), and Triadica sebifera (Chinese tallow tree). Surveys of these species in riparian forests in and around Auburn, Alabama were conducted to show the relative extent of these shrubs and their relation to urban land use. It was expected to see the highest levels of invasive species in the city center with decreasing levels radiating outward into rural areas. Another objective was how urban land use may affect the presence-absence and prevalence of these non-native plant species within study sites. The results showed that around the city center and suburban lands, cover of both Chinese privet and silverthorn tended to increase. In contrast, Chinese tallow tree density percent cover showed an opposite trend with landscapes close to city center often having slightly less cover. This study shows that urban land use may be an important association with distribution of invasive plant species.
Urban Ecosystems – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 16, 2018
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