Recruitment limitation of native species in invaded coastal dune communities
"Recruitment limitation may limit the ability of sites to regenerate after disturbances such as weed invasion and weed management. We investigated seed bank constraints and dispersal limitation in coastal dune communities on the east coast of Australia. The ability of sites to regenerate naturally following weed removal was assessed in coastal dune communities invaded by the invasive alien, bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotundata). To investigate recruitment limitation, seed banks and vegetation of invaded, native, intensively managed (selective application of herbicide and some re-vegetation) and extensively managed (large-scale, non-selective herbicide application) sites were compared. We investigated the dispersal mechanisms of species in the seed bank and vegetation to determine if communities might be dispersal-limited, i.e. contain significant numbers of species with only short-distance dispersal capabilities. Species richness and composition of soil seed banks differed from the vegetation in foredunes and hinddunes. Invasion depleted seed banks further. About half of the species had short-distance dispersal mechanisms indicating the potential for dispersal limitation. Secondary weed invasion following management was evident although alien species occurred in both seed banks and vegetation. Our results indicated that coastal dune communities suffer recruitment limitation. Native, managed and invaded dune communities appear to be both seed bank and dispersal-limited although management and invasion exacerbates recruitment. Regeneration of coastal dune communities will require active reintroduction of species, particularly those with short-distance dispersal mechanisms."
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