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Effects of alien plants on ecosystem structure and functioning and implications for restoration: Insights from three degraded sites in South African fynbos

dc.contributor.authorGaertner M.
dc.contributor.authorRichardson D.M.
dc.contributor.authorPrivett S.D.J.
dc.date.accessioned2011-10-13T16:58:40Z
dc.date.available2011-10-13T16:58:40Z
dc.date.issued2011
dc.identifier.citationEnvironmental Management
dc.identifier.citation48
dc.identifier.citation1
dc.identifier.citationhttp://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-79959378567&partnerID=40&md5=71961e04003da7cccc678e2422c9d1d1
dc.identifier.issn0364152X
dc.identifier.other10.1007/s00267-011-9675-7
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/16813
dc.description.abstractWe investigated the type and extent of degradation at three sites on the Agulhas Plain, South Africa: an old field dominated by the alien grass Pennisetum clandestinum Pers. (kikuyu), an abandoned Eucalyptus plantation, and a natural fynbos community invaded by nitrogen fixing-Australian Acacia species. These forms of degradation are representative of many areas in the region. By identifying the nature and degree of ecosystem degradation we aimed to determine appropriate strategies for restoration in this biodiversity hotspot. Vegetation surveys were conducted at degraded sites and carefully selected reference sites. Soil-stored propagule seed banks and macro- and micro-soil nutrients were determined. Species richness, diversity and native cover under Eucalyptus were extremely low compared to the reference site and alterations of the soil nutrients were the most severe. The cover of indigenous species under Acacia did not differ significantly from that in reference sites, but species richness was lower under Acacia and soils were considerably enriched. Native species richness was much lower in the kikuyu site, but soil nutrient status was similar to the reference site. Removal of the alien species alone may be sufficient to re-initiate ecosystem recovery at the kikuyu site, whereas active restoration is required to restore functioning ecosystems dominated by native species in the Acacia thicket and the Eucalyptus plantation. To restore native plant communities we suggest burning, mulching with sawdust and sowing of native species. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
dc.subjectBiological invasions
dc.subjectDegradation
dc.subjectInvasive species
dc.subjectNutrient enrichment
dc.subjectRehabilitation
dc.subjectAcacia species
dc.subjectActive restoration
dc.subjectAlien plants
dc.subjectAlien species
dc.subjectBiological invasion
dc.subjectDegraded sites
dc.subjectEcosystem degradation
dc.subjectEcosystem structure
dc.subjectEucalyptus plantations
dc.subjectHot spot
dc.subjectInvasive species
dc.subjectNative plants
dc.subjectNative species
dc.subjectNutrient enrichment
dc.subjectOld-field
dc.subjectReference sites
dc.subjectSeed bank
dc.subjectSoil nutrients
dc.subjectSouth Africa
dc.subjectSpecies richness
dc.subjectBiodiversity
dc.subjectDegradation
dc.subjectNitrogen fixation
dc.subjectNutrients
dc.subjectRestoration
dc.subjectSoils
dc.subjectEcosystems
dc.subjecttrace element
dc.subjectbiodiversity
dc.subjectbiological invasion
dc.subjectecosystem function
dc.subjectecosystem structure
dc.subjectfynbos
dc.subjecthabitat restoration
dc.subjectintroduced species
dc.subjectnative species
dc.subjectplant
dc.subjectplant community
dc.subjectreintroduction
dc.subjectspecies diversity
dc.subjectspecies richness
dc.subjectAcacia
dc.subjectarticle
dc.subjectbiodegradation
dc.subjectbiodiversity
dc.subjectecosystem restoration
dc.subjectEucalyptus
dc.subjectgrass
dc.subjecthabitat structure
dc.subjectmacronutrient
dc.subjectmulch
dc.subjectnative species
dc.subjectplant community
dc.subjectplant seed
dc.subjectplantation
dc.subjectpopulation recovery
dc.subjectsoil analysis
dc.subjectSouth Africa
dc.subjectspecies habitat
dc.subjectvegetation
dc.subjectAgulhas Plain
dc.subjectSouth Africa
dc.subjectWestern Cape
dc.subjectAcacia
dc.subjectEucalyptus
dc.subjectPennisetum clandestinum
dc.titleEffects of alien plants on ecosystem structure and functioning and implications for restoration: Insights from three degraded sites in South African fynbos
dc.typeArticle
dc.description.versionArticle


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