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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Lauderdale, Florida » Invasive Plant Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357117

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

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Simulation of post-hurricane impact on invasive species with biological control management

item XU, LINHAO - Nanjing Forestry University
item ZDECHLIK, MARYA - University Of Miami
item Smith, Melissa
item Rayamajhi, Min
item DEANGELIS, DONALD D. - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item ZHANG, BO - University Of California, Davis

Submitted to: Forests
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2019
Publication Date: 9/16/2019
Citation: Xu, L., Zdechlik, M., Smith, M., Rayamajhi, M.B., Deangelis, D., Zhang, B. 2019. Simulation of post-hurricane impact on invasive species with biological control management. Forests. 40(6):4059-4071.

Interpretive Summary: We utilized two different landscape models to determine the effects of large-scale disturbance events, for example, hurricanes, on melaleuca with and without biological control present. We also investigated the effects of hurricanes in native habitats, mixed native and invasive stands and monocultures of melaleuca. Our models indicate that in the presence of biological control, melaleuca becomes a much less dominant constituent in mixed stands and takes longer to recover even in monoculture stands of melaleuca. In addition to this modeling exercise, empirical studies are under way to examine the post-hurricane effects in stands of melaleuca when biological control is present.

Technical Abstract: Understanding the effects of hurricanes and other large storms on ecological communities and the post-event recovery in these communities can provide guidance for management and ecosystem restoration. This is particularly important for communities impacted by invasive species, as the hurricane may affect control efforts. Here we consider the effect of a hurricane on tree communities in southern Florida that have been invaded by the tree species Melaleuca quinquenervia (melaleuca). Biological control agents were introduced starting in the 1990s and appear to be reducing melaleuca in habitats where they are established. Here we use modeling as a tool to project the possible effects of a hurricane on stands that have both native vegetation and invasive melaleuca, as well as on a pure melaleuca stand, with and without biological control. The model results indicate that in mixed stands affected by a hurricane, the biological control will suppress melaleuca to a minor constituent in native-dominated communities. In pure melaleuca stands, biological control will both suppress the melaleuca and delay recovery to pre-hurricane total basal area.