Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Effects of canopy gap size on recruitment and invasion of the non-indigenous Rubus alceifolius in lowland tropical rain forest on Réunion

  • Stéphane Baret (a1) (a2), Laurent Cournac (a3), Christophe Thébaud (a4), Peter Edwards (a5) and Dominique Strasberg (a1)...

Abstract:

An important challenge of invasion biology is to understand how interactions between species traits and ecosystem properties enable alien species to become invasive at particular locations. We investigated how gap dynamics in a tropical rain forest on the island of Réunion affected the invasiveness of alien plants. In the 12 000-m2 study area, alien plants occupied 24.9% of the area of gaps, which represented 5.62% of the forest area, but only 0.8% of the understorey area. The most abundant invasive species was Rubus alceifolius, which formed dense, monospecific stands in the largest gaps (> 25 m2). Although plants could persist in the shade, a germination experiment revealed that canopy openings were essential for seedling establishment. A cyclone that struck the study area in 2002 caused a temporary thinning of the canopy, increasing light levels to above the threshold needed for germination of R. alceifolius and also stimulating the growth of established plants. We conclude that the ability of this and other alien species to colonize intact lowland tropical rain forest is strongly influenced by the prevailing gap dynamics. Because gaps are also essential for the regeneration of many native trees in our study area, there is a real danger of the forest being progressively degraded by alien plants. There are no simple solutions to controlling species such as Rubus alceifolius, but efforts should be focused mainly upon the larger gaps where the species are most invasive.

Copyright

Corresponding author

1Corresponding author. Email: sbaret@cbnm.org

References

Hide All
ALPERT, P., BONE, E. & HOLZAPFEL, C. 2000. Invasiveness, invasibility and the role of environmental stress in the spread of non-native plants. Perspectives in Plant Ecology 3:5266.
AMOR, R. L. 1974. Ecology and control of blackberry (Rubus fruticosus L. agg.). II Reproduction. Weed Research 14:231238.
AMSELLEM, L. 2000. Comparaison entre aires d'origine et d'introduction de quelques traits biologiques chez Rubus alceifolius Poir. (Rosaceae), plante envahissante dans les îles de l'Océan Indien. PhD thesis, University of Montpellier II, France.
BACHELERY, P., BLUM, P. A., CHEMINEE, J. L., CHEVALLIER, L., GAULON, R., GIRARDIN, N., JUAPART, C., LALANNE, F., LE MOUEL, J. L., RUEGG, J. C. & VINCENT, P. 1982. Eruption at Le Piton de la Fournaise volcano on 3 February 1981. Nature 297:395397.
BARET, S. & STRASBERG, D. 2005. The effects of opening trails on exotic plant invasion in protected areas on La Réunion Island (Mascarene archipelago, Indian Ocean). Revue d'Ecologie (Terre et Vie) 60:325332.
BARET, S., NICOLINI, E., LE BOURGEOIS, T. & STRASBERG, D. 2003a. Developmental patterns of the invasive bramble (Rubus alceifolius Poiret, Rosaceae) in Réunion Island: an architectural and morphometric analysis. Annals of Botany (London) 91:3948.
BARET, S., NICOLINI, E., HUMEAU, L., LE BOURGEOIS, T. & STRASBERG, D. 2003b. Use of architectural and morphometric analysis to predict the flowering pattern of the invasive Rubus on Réunion island (Indian Ocean). Canadian Journal of Botany 81:12931301.
BARET, S., MAURICE, S., LE BOURGEOIS, T. & STRASBERG, D. 2004. Altitudinal variation in fertility and vegetative growth in the invasive plant Rubus alceifolius Poiret (Rosaceae), on Réunion island. Plant Ecology 172:265273.
BARET, S., LE BOURGEOIS, T. & STRASBERG, D. 2005a. Comment Rubus alceifolius, une espèce exotique envahissante, pourrait-elle progressivement coloniser la totalité d'une forêt tropicale humide? Canadian Journal of Botany 83:219226.
BARET, S., RADJASSEGARANE, S., LE BOURGEOIS, T. & STRASBERG, D. 2005b. Does the growth rate of different reproductive modes of an introduced plant cause invasiveness? International Journal of Botany 1:511.
BARET, S., ROUGET, M., RICHARDSON, D. M., LAVERGNE, C., EGOH, B., DUPONT, J. & STRASBERG, D. 2006. Current distribution and potential extent of the most invasive alien plant species on La Réunion (Indian Ocean, Mascarene islands). Austral Ecology 31:747758.
BELLINGHAM, P. J., TANNER, E. V. J. & HEALEY, J. R. 1994. Sprouting of trees in Jamaican montane forests after a hurricane. Journal of Ecology 82:747758.
BELLINGHAM, P. J., TANNER, E. V. J. & HEALEY, J. R. 1995. Damage and responsiveness of Jamaican tree species after disturbance by hurricane. Ecology 76:25622580.
BELLINGHAM, P. J., TANNER, E. V. J., RICH, P. M. & GOODLAND, T. C. R. 1996. Changes in light below the canopy of a Jamaican montane rain forest after hurricane. Journal of Tropical Ecology 12:699722.
BOOSE, E. R., FOSTER, D. R. & FLUET, M. 1994. Hurricane impacts to tropical and temperate forest landscapes. Ecological Monograph 64:369432.
BORY DE SAINT-VINCENT, J.-B.-G.-M. 1804. Voyage dans les quatre principales îles des mers d'Afrique: fait par ordre du gouvernement pendant les années neuf et dix de la république (1801–1802), Tome II (3 vols). Buisson, Paris. 431 pp.
BROKAW, N. V. L. 1982. The definition of treefall gap and its effect on measures of forest dynamics. Biotropica 14:158160.
BROKAW, N. V. L. 1985. Gap-phase regeneration in a tropical forest. Ecology 66:682687.
BROKAW, N. V. L. & WALKER, L. R. 1991. Summary of the effects of Caribbean hurricanes on vegetation. Biotropica 23:442447.
CADET, T. 1977. La végétation de l'île de La Réunion. PhD thesis, University of Aix-Marseille, France.
COURNAC, L., DUBOIS, M. A., CHAVE, J. & RIÉRA, B. 2002. Fast determination of light availability and leaf area index in tropical forests. Journal of Tropical Ecology 18:295302.
CRAWLEY, M. J. 1987. What makes a community invasible? Pp. 429453 in Gray, A. J., Crawley, M. J. & Edwards, P. J. (eds). Colonization, succession, and stability. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.
D'ANTONIO, C. M. 1993. Mechanisms controlling invasion of coastal plant communities by the alien succulent Carpobrotus edulis. Ecology 74:8395.
D'ANTONIO, C. M. & KARK, S. 2002. Impacts and extent of biotic invasions in terrestrial ecosystems. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17:202204.
DAVIS, M. A., PERGL, J., TRUSCOTT, A.-M., KOLLMANN, J., BAKKER, J. P., DOMENECH, R., PRACH, K., PRIEUR-RICHARD, A.-H., VEENEKLAAS, R. M., PYŠEK, P., DEL MORAL, R., HOBBS, R. J., COLLINS, S. L., PICKETT, S. T. A. & REICH, P. B. 2005. Vegetation change: a reunifying concept in plant ecology. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 7:6976.
DE CORDEMOY, E. J. 1895. Flore de l'île de la Réunion. Paul Klincksieck, Paris, 574 p.
DENSLOW, J. S. 1980. Gap partitioning among tropical rainforest trees. Biotropica 12 (Suppl.):4755.
DENSLOW, J. S. 1987. Tropical rainforest gaps and tree species diversity. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 18:431451.
EVERHAM, E. M. & BROKAW, N. V. L. 1996. Forest damage and recovery from catastrophic wind. Botanical Review 62:113173.
EPPSTEIN, M. J. & MOLOFSKY, J. 2007. Invasiveness in plant communities with feedbacks. Ecology Letters 10:253263.
FERNANDEZ, D. S. & FETCHER, N. 1991. Changes in light availability following Hurricane Hugo in a subtropical montane forest in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:393399.
FINE, P. V. A. 2002. The invasibility of tropical forests by exotic plants. Journal of Tropical Ecology 18:687705.
FOSBERG, F. R. 1983. The human factor in the biogeography of oceanic islands. Comptes Rendus sommaires des Séances de la Société de Biogéographique 59:147190.
FRECKLETON, R. P. 2004. The problems of prediction and scale in applied ecology: the example of fire as management tool. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:599603.
FRITTS, T. H. & RODDA, G. H. 1998. The role of introduced species in the degradation of island ecosystems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29:113140.
GARWOOD, N. C. 1983. Seed germination in a seasonal tropical forest in Panama: a community study. Ecological Monograph 53:159181.
GOODWIN, B. J., MCALLISTER, A. J. & FAHRIG, L. 1999. Predicting invasiveness of plant species based on biological information. Conservation Biology 13:422426.
HARRINGTON, R. A., FOWNES, J. H., SCOWCROFT, P. G. & VANN, C. S. 1997. Impact of Hurricane Iniki on native Hawaiian Acacia koa forests: damage and two-year recovery. Journal of Tropical Ecology 13:539558.
HOBBS, R. & HUMPHRIES, S. E. 1995. An integrated approach to the ecology and the management of plant invasions. Conservation Biology 9:761770.
HORVITZ, C., PASCARELLA, J., MCMANN, S., FREEDMAN, A. & HOFSETTER, R. H. 1998. Functional roles of invasive non-indigenous plants in hurricane-affected subtropical hardwood. Ecological Application 8:947974.
HUBBELL, S. P. & FOSTER, R. B. 1986. Canopy gaps and the dynamics of a Neotropical forest. Pp. 7796 in Crawley, M. J. (ed.). Plant ecology. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.
KELL, S. 1997. Alien plant invasions in Rodrigues island, Indian Ocean. Aliens Newsletter 5:1314.
KING, S. E. & GRACE, J. B. 2000. The effects of gap size and disturbance type on invasion of wet pine savanna by cogongrass, Imperata cylindrica (Poaceae). American Journal of Botany 87:12791286.
KOIKE, F. & SYAHBUDDIN, 1993. Canopy structure of a tropical rain forest and the nature of an unstratified upper layer. Functional Ecology 7:230235.
KOLAR, C. S. & LODGE, D. M. 2001. Progress in invasion biology: predicting invaders. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16:199204.
LAVERGNE, C., RAMEAU, J. C. & FIGIER, J. 1999. The invasive woody weed Ligustrum robustum subsp. walkeri threatens native forests on La Réunion. Biological Invasion 1:377392.
LEE, R. 1978. Forest microclimatology. Columbia University Press, New York. 276 pp.
LEVINE, J. M. 2000. Species diversity and biological invasions: relating local process to community pattern. Science 288:852854.
LIEBERMAN, M., LIEBERMAN, D. & PERALTA, R. 1989. Forests are not just Swiss cheese: canopy stereogeometry of non-gaps in tropical forests. Ecology 70:550552.
LORENCE, D. H. & SUSSMAN, R. W. 1986. Exotic species invasion into Mauritius wet forest remnants. Journal of Tropical Ecology 2:147162.
LORENCE, D. H. & SUSSMAN, R. W. 1988. Diversity, density and invasion in a Mauritius wet forest. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 25:187204.
LUGO, A. E., APPLEFIELD, M., POOL, D. J. & MCDONALD, R. B. 1983. The impact of Hurricane David on the forests of Dominica. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 13:201211.
MACDONALD, I. A. W., THÉBAUD, C., STRAHM, W. A. & STRASBERG, D. 1991. Effects of alien plant invasions on native vegetation remnants on La Réunion (Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean). Environmental Conservation 18:5161.
MARKS, P. L. 1983. On the origin of field plants of the northeatern United States. American Naturalist 122:210228.
MUELLER-DOMBOIS, D. & LOOPE, L. L. 1990. Some unique ecological aspects of oceanic island ecosystems. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 32:2128.
MYERS, N., MITTERMEIER, R. A., MITTERMEIER, C. G., DA FONSECA, G. A. B. & KENT, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots conservation priorities. Nature 403:853858.
OTT, R. A. & JUDAY, G. P. 2002. Canopy gap characteristics and their implications for management in the temperate rainforests of southeast Alaska. Forest Ecology and Management 159:271291.
PIERSON, E. A. & MACK, R. N. 1990. The population biology of Bromus tectorum in forests: effect of disturbance, grazing and litter on seedling establishment and reproduction. Oecologia 84:526533.
PYŠEK, P., RICHARDSON, D. M. & WILLIAMSON, M. 2004. Predicting and explaining plant invasions through analysis of source area floras: some critical consideration. Diversity and Distributions 10:179187.
RESTREPO, C. & VITOUSEK, P. M. 2001. Landslides, alien species, and the diversity of a Hawaiian montane mesic ecosystem. Biotropica 33:409420.
REJMÁNEK, M. & RICHARDSON, D. M. 1996. What attributes make some plant species more invasive? Ecology 77:16551661.
RICHARDSON, D. M., PYŠEK, P., REJMÁNEK, M., BARBOUR, M. G., PANETTA, F. D. & WEST, C. J. 2000. Naturalization and invasion of alien plants – concepts and definitions. Diversity and Distribution 6:93107.
RUNKLE, J. R. 1982. Patterns of disturbance in some old-growth mesic forests of eastern North America. Ecology 63:15331546.
SCHNITZER, S. A., DALLING, J. W. & CARSON, W. P. 2000. The impact of lianas on tree regeneration in tropical forest canopy gaps: evidence for an alternative pathway of gap-phase regeneration. Journal of Ecology 88:655666.
SCOTT, D. H. & DRAPER, D. A. 1967. Light in relation to seed germination of Blueberries, Strawberries, and Rubus. HortScience 2:107108.
SMITH, M. D. & KNAPP, A. K. 1999. Exotic plant species in a C4-dominated grassland: invasibility, disturbance and community structure. Oecologia 120:605612.
STRASBERG, D. 1995. Processus d'invasion par les plantes introduites à La Réunion et dynamique de la végétation sur les coulées volcaniques. Ecologie 26:169180.
STRASBERG, D., ROUGET, M., RICHARDSON, D. M., BARET, S., DUPONT, J. & COWLING, R. M. 2005. An assessment of habitat diversity, transformation and threats to biodiversity on Reunion Island (Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean) as a basis for conservation planning. Biodiversity and Conservation 14:30153032.
SUDING, K. N. & GOLDBERG, D. 2001. Do disturbances alter competitive hierarchies? Mechanisms of change following gap creation. Ecology 82:21332149.
TANNER, E. V. J., KAPOS, V. & HEALEY, J. R. 1991. Hurricane effects on forest ecosystems in the Caribbean. Biotropica 23:513521.
THÉBAUD, C., FINZI, A. C., AFFRE, L., DEBUSSCHE, M. & ESCARRE, J. 1996. Assessing why two introduced Conyza differ in their ability to invade Mediterranean old fields. Ecology 77:791804.
TURTON, S. M. 1992. Understorey light environments in a north-east Australian rain forest before and after a tropical cyclone. Journal of Tropical Ecology 8:241252.
VANDERMEER, J., MALLONA, M. A., BOUCHER, D., YIH, K. & PERFECTO, I. 1995. Three years of ingrowth following catastrophic hurricane damage on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua: evidence in support of the direct generation hypothesis. Journal of Tropical Ecology 11:465471.
VITOUSEK, P. 1988. Diversity and biological invasions on oceanic islands. Pp. 181189 in Wilson, E. O. (ed.). Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington DC.
VITOUSEK, P. M., D'ANTONIO, C. M., LOOPE, L. L. & WESTBROOKS, R. 1996. Biological invasions as global environmental change. American Scientist 84:218228.
WHITMORE, T. C. 1989. Canopy gaps and the two major groups of forest trees. Ecology 70:536538.
WILLIAMSON, M. H. & FITTER, A. 1996. The characters of successful invaders. Biological Conservation 78:163170.

Keywords

Effects of canopy gap size on recruitment and invasion of the non-indigenous Rubus alceifolius in lowland tropical rain forest on Réunion

  • Stéphane Baret (a1) (a2), Laurent Cournac (a3), Christophe Thébaud (a4), Peter Edwards (a5) and Dominique Strasberg (a1)...

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed