Invasion of transition hardwood forests by exotic Rhamnus frangula: Chronology and site requirements

by Wingard, Hanna S., M.S., UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, 2007, 43 pages; 1443642


The invasion chronology and site requirements of the exotic, invasive shrub, glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula), were studied within intact transition hardwood---hemlock---white pine forests in Durham, NH. Data were collected from 63 plots (7 sites with 9 plots each). Within sites, plots were arranged over a topographic gradient with 3 plots in each of 3 topographic positions (upper, middle, and lower slope). From each plot, information on soil nutrients and texture, soil moisture, overstory community composition, and canopy openness was collected. Densities of R. frangula in two size classes (≥1 m in height, <1 m in height) within each plot were calculated. Morphological data (height, diameter at stem base, number of live and dead stems, and age) were collected from each individual ≥1 m tall. R. frangula invaded these intact, closed-canopy forests over 30 years ago and the invasion has continued, with population density increasing over time. Nominal logistic regression suggested that site, topographic position, and overstory community type played a role in whether or not R. frangula was present in a plot. Plots on upper slopes dominated by Tsuga canadensis were less likely to become invaded than other plots. Multiple linear regression showed that density of R. frangula (≥1 m) increased with time since invasion and increasing soil quality. Density of R. frangula (<1 m) was positively influenced by time since invasion, canopy openness, and density of R. frangula (≥1 m). Multiple regressions also showed that mean age and age of oldest R. frangula per plot were higher in plots with higher soil moisture content. Size of R. frangula individuals (i.e. height, diameter) generally increased with mean age of stems. The results show that successional, transition hardwood forests can be invaded by R. frangula and should not be overlooked when managing against this species. Special attention should be given to low topographic positions and areas with rich soils, while upland areas with dense hemlock canopy are much less likely to experience heavy invasion by R. frangula.

Source TypeThesis
SubjectsEcology; Plant Physiology Biology
Publication Number1443642

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