Publication Details

Gooden, B., French, K. O. & Turner, P. (2009). Invasion and management of a woody plant, Lantana camara L., alters vegetation diversity within wet sclerophyll forest in southeastern Australia. Forest Ecology & Management, 257 (3), 960-967.


Plant invasions of natural communities are commonly associated with reduced species diversity and altered ecosystem structure and function. This study investigated the effects of invasion and management of the woody shrub Lantana camara (lantana) in wet sclerophyll forest on the south-east coast of Australia. The effects of L. camara invasion and management on resident vegetation diversity and recruitment were determined as well as if invader management initiated community recovery. Vascular plant species richness, abundance and composition were surveyed and compared across L. camara invaded, non-invaded and managed sites following L. camara removal during a previous control event by land managers. Native tree juvenile and adult densities were compared between sites to investigate the potential effects of L. camara on species recruitment. Invasion of L. camara led to a reduction in species richness and compositions that diverged from non-invaded vegetation. Species richness was lower for fern, herb, tree and vine species, highlighting the pervasive threat of L. camara. For many common tree species, juvenile densities were lower within invaded sites than non-invaded sites, yet adult densities were similar across all invasion categories. This indicates that reduced species diversity is driven in part by recruitment limitation mechanisms, which may include allelopathy and resource competition, rather than displacement of adult vegetation. Management of L. camara initiated community recovery by increasing species richness, abundance and recruitment. While community composition following L. camara management diverged from non-invaded vegetation, vigorous tree and shrub recruitment signals that long-term community reinstatement will occur. However, secondary weed invasion occurred following L. camara control. Follow-up weed control may be necessary to prevent secondary plant invasion following invader management and facilitate long-term community recovery.



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