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Limited natural regeneration of unique Scalesia forest following invasive plant removal in Galapagos

Title data

Walentowitz, Anna J. ; Manthey, Michael ; Bentet Preciado, María Belén ; Chango, Rafael ; Sevilla, Christian ; Jäger, Heinke:
Limited natural regeneration of unique Scalesia forest following invasive plant removal in Galapagos.
In: PLoS One. Vol. 16 (2021) Issue 10 . - 11 S..
ISSN 1932-6203
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0258467

Abstract in another language

More than 60% of the flora of the Galapagos Islands is introduced and some of these species have become invasive, severely altering ecosystems. An example of an affected ecosystem is the Scalesia forest, originally dominated by the endemic giant daisy tree Scalesia pedunculata (Asteraceae). The remnant patches of this unique forest are increasingly being invaded by introduced plants, mainly by Rubus niveus (blackberry, Rosaceae). To help large-scale restoration of this ecologically important forest, we seek to better understand the natural regeneration of S. pedunculata after invasive plant control. We monitored naturally recruited S. pedunculata saplings and young trees over five years in an area where invasive plant species are continuously being removed by manual means. We measured survival, height and growth of S. pedunculata saplings and young trees along permanent transects. Percent cover of surrounding plant species and of canopy shade directly above each S. pedunculata individual were determined, as well as distance to the next mature S. pedunculata tree. We identified potential factors influencing initial sapling survival and growth by applying generalized linear models. Results showed a rapid growth of saplings and young trees of up to 0.45 cm per day and a high mortality rate, as is typical for pioneer species like S. pedunculata. Sapling survival, growth and mortality seemed to be influenced by light availability, surrounding vegetation and distance to the next adult S. pedunculata tree. We concluded that natural regeneration of S. pedunculata was high only five months after the last herbicide application but that 95% of these recruits had died over the 5-year period. Further studies are needed to corroborate whether the number of surviving trees is sufficient to replace the aging adult trees and this way maintain remnants of the Scalesia forest. Urgent action is needed to help improve future restoration strategies to prevent further degradation of this rapidly shrinking threatened forest ecosystem.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Invasive species; Forests; Trees; Death rates; Forest ecology; Ecosystems; Herbicides; Plants
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography > Chair Biogeography - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2021 06:04
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2021 06:04
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/67339