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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330941

Research Project: Identification, Evaluation, and Implementation of Biological Control Agents for Invasive Weeds of Southeastern Ecosystems

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: The role of melaleuca control in Everglades restoration: accomplishments and future plans

Author
item Lake, Ellen
item Tipping, Philip
item Rayamajhi, Min
item Pratt, Paul
item Dray, F Allen
item Wheeler, Gregory
item Purcell, Matthew - Australian Biological Control Laboratory, ARS
item Center, Ted

Submitted to: Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2017
Publication Date: 4/1/2017
Citation: Lake, E.C., Tipping, P.W., Rayamajhi, M.B., Pratt, P.D., Dray Jr, F.A., Wheeler, G.S., Purcell, M.F., Center, T.D. 2017. The role of melaleuca control in Everglades restoration: accomplishments and future plans. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team. 53-58.

Interpretive Summary: The invasive tree Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake, melaleuca, was first introduced to Florida in 1886 for ornamental use. It was later planted for bank stabilization and as a forestry crop. Melaleuca now invades a variety of habitats, changing the hydroperiod and fire regime, reducing plant diversity, and altering ecosystem structure and function. Three biological control agents have been released and established on melaleuca. These agents decrease the growth and reproductive capacity of melaleuca, and can increase seedling mortality. In some sites, the native plant community recovered following biological control of melaleuca; in other sites more active restoration will be required. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is a multibillion dollar 30+ year effort to restore, preserve and protect this unique ecosystem. It includes reducing the impact of invasive species via the mass rearing and release of biological control agents. Current weed targets include Old World climbing fern, waterhyacinth and air potato.

Technical Abstract: The invasive tree Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake, melaleuca, was first introduced to Florida in 1886 for ornamental use. It was later planted for bank stabilization and as a forestry crop. Melaleuca now invades a variety of habitats. Invasion by melaleuca changes the hydroperiod and fire regime, reduces plant diversity, and alters the structure and function of native ecosystems. Three biological control agents have been released and established on melaleuca. These agents decrease the growth and reproductive capacity of melaleuca and can increase seedling mortality. In some sites, the native plant community recovered following biological control of melaleuca but in other sites more active restoration, including planting native vegetation, will be required. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is a multibillion dollar 30+ year effort to restore, preserve and protect this unique ecosystem. It includes reducing the impact of invasive species via the mass rearing and release of biological control agents. Current weed targets include Old World climbing fern, waterhyacinth and air potato.