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Title: REVEGETATION OF DEAD DICRANOPTERIS FERN PATCHES ASSOCIATED WITH HAWAIIAN RAIN FORESTS

Author
item Follett, Peter
item WONG, P
item JOHNSON, M
item JONES, V

Submitted to: Pacific Science Congress
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2003
Publication Date: 6/1/2003
Citation: Follett, P.A., Wong, P.A., Johnson, M.T., Jones, V.P. 2003. Revegetation of dead Dicranopteris (Gelecheniaceae) fern patches associated with Hawaiian rain forests. Pacific Science 57 (4): 347-357. 2003.

Interpretive Summary: In the late 1980's, the native fern Dicranopteris linearis (uluhe or false staghorn fern) began to dieback on sunny slopes in Hawaiian rain forests, possibly due to damage caused by the invasive leafhopper, Sophonia rufofascia (two-spotted leafhopper). During 1995-1999, we studied early plant succession at a variety of low elevation D. linearis dieback sites to assess the vulnerability of these disturbances to invasion by non-native weeds. Clidemia hirta (Koster's curse) and Nephrolepis multiflora (swordfern) were the most common invasive species colonizing and spreading in dieback patches. In a simulated fern decomposition study, seedling germination increased as the depth of the thicket decreased. Fern dieback may enhance regeneration of the native tree Acacia koa.

Technical Abstract: Dieback of Dicranopteris linearis on wet, open valley slopes and ridgelines of Maui, Oahu, and Kauai has been attributed to feeding by the introduced leafhopper, Sophonia rufofascia. We studied early plant succession at a variety of low elevation D. linearis dieback sites to assess the vulnerability of these disturbances to invasion by non-native weeds. Dead patches of D. linearis were colonized by both native and alien plant species; the number and assemblage of colonizing plant species was site specific. Clidemia hirta and Nephrolepis multiflora were the most common invasive species colonizing and spreading in dieback patches. Recolonization of dead patches by live D. linearis spreading from the margins was also common. In a simulated fern decomposition study, seedling germination increased as the depth of the thicket decreased. Fern dieback may enhance regeneration of the native tree Acacia koa.