Ecology and Evolution (2017) 7, 2181-2192

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Chaeho Byun and Eun Ju Lee (2017)
Ecological application of biotic resistance to control the invasion of an invasive plant, Ageratina altissima
Ecology and Evolution 7 (7), 2181-2192
Abstract: Biotic resistance is the ability of species in a community to limit the invasion of other species. However, biotic resistance is not widely used to control invasive plants. Experimental, functional, and modeling approaches were combined to investigate the processes of invasion by Ageratina altissima (white snakeroot), a model invasive species in South Korea. We hypothesized that (1) functional group identity would be a good predictor of biotic resistance to A. altissima, whereas a species identity effect would be redundant within a functional group, and (2) mixtures of species would be more resistant to invasion than monocultures. We classified 37 species of native plants into three functional groups based on seven functional traits. The classification of functional groups was based primarily on differences in life longevity and woodiness. A competition experiment was conducted based on an additive competition design with A. altissima and monocultures or mixtures of resident plants. As an indicator of biotic resistance, we calculated a relative competition index (RCIavg) based on the average performance of A. altissima in a competition treatment compared with that of the control where only seeds of A. altissima were sown. To further explain the effect of diversity, we tested several diversity–interaction models. In monoculture treatments, RCIavg of resident plants was significantly different among functional groups but not within each functional group. Fast-growing annuals (FG1) had the highest RCIavg, suggesting priority effects (niche pre-emption). RCIavg of resident plants was significantly greater in a mixture than in a monoculture. According to the diversity–interaction models, species interaction patterns in mixtures were best described by interactions between functional groups, which implied niche partitioning. Functional group identity and diversity of resident plant communities were good indicators of biotic resistance to invasion by introduced A. altissima, with the underlying mechanisms likely niche pre-emption and niche partitioning. This method has most potential in assisted restoration contexts, where there is a desire to reintroduce natives or boost their population size due to some previous level of degradation.
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Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
environment - cropping system/rotation

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Ageratina altissima (weed) Korea-South