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The intermediate disturbance hypothesis and plant invasions: Implications for species richness and management

The intermediate disturbance hypothesis and plant invasions: Implications for species richness and management
The intermediate disturbance hypothesis and plant invasions: Implications for species richness and management
The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) predicts a hump-shaped pattern between community diversity and disturbance, and is central to understanding patterns of species diversity. Here, we examine IDH in the context of alien plant invasions. IDH can offer insight into the role of disturbance in facilitating plant invasions and the effect of these invasions on floristic diversity.

Early stages of succession are most susceptible to invasion because resources and colonisation opportunities are elevated after disturbance. This trend is accentuated by human-mediated dispersal, a bias towards early successional species in the alien species pool, the tendency for fast-growing species to profit most from enemy release, and increased disturbance levels in human-modified habitats. Human disturbance, coupled with plant introductions, extends the diversity–disturbance curve and shifts peak diversity towards higher disturbance levels. However, invasive aliens can reduce native diversity at the community scale, especially in mid succession where competitive interactions structure communities. Certain invasive plants may have higher impacts because they overcome some life history tradeoffs as a result of their association with humans or novel evolutionary histories, e.g. enemy release. This may directly or indirectly (e.g. through plastic reallocation of resources from defence into growth) enable invasive plants to colonise earlier or persist into later stages of succession. By modifying disturbance regimes, invaders that transform the environment may also interfere with succession and precipitate low diversity communities. Low introduction rates of late successional species may currently limit impacts of aliens under infrequent disturbance.

IDH is a useful framework for understanding ecological communities. However, because of the novel evolutionary histories of alien species and the anthropogenic context in which they invade, disturbance levels that maximise total diversity in invaded communities can differ from those that maximise native diversity. Joint consideration of IDH and alien invasion patterns suggests a range of strategies can be used to manage diversity.
1433-8319
231-241
Catford, Jane
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Daehler, Curtis C.
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Murphy, Helen T.
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Sheppard, Andy W.
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Hardesty, Britta D.
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Westcott, David A.
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Rejmánek, Marcel
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Bellingham, Peter J.
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Pergl, Jan
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Horvitz, Carol C.
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Hulme, Philip E.
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Catford, Jane
c80a4529-b7cb-4d36-aba8-f38de01ce729
Daehler, Curtis C.
ab87331e-9f71-4f12-8317-0de3916d73f5
Murphy, Helen T.
1127a438-1514-4b3f-be96-9f13fb4f4289
Sheppard, Andy W.
01c25648-1a03-404f-901a-52088828c300
Hardesty, Britta D.
419fd0c3-b002-4433-8803-60691a6f036f
Westcott, David A.
48bafb30-07bf-4fef-aac9-7915741b8d4c
Rejmánek, Marcel
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Bellingham, Peter J.
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Pergl, Jan
3ab87107-5f5f-4466-9036-031963030701
Horvitz, Carol C.
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Hulme, Philip E.
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Catford, Jane, Daehler, Curtis C., Murphy, Helen T., Sheppard, Andy W., Hardesty, Britta D., Westcott, David A., Rejmánek, Marcel, Bellingham, Peter J., Pergl, Jan, Horvitz, Carol C. and Hulme, Philip E. (2012) The intermediate disturbance hypothesis and plant invasions: Implications for species richness and management. Perspectives in Plant Ecology Evolution and Systematics, 14 (3), 231-241. (doi:10.1016/j.ppees.2011.12.002).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) predicts a hump-shaped pattern between community diversity and disturbance, and is central to understanding patterns of species diversity. Here, we examine IDH in the context of alien plant invasions. IDH can offer insight into the role of disturbance in facilitating plant invasions and the effect of these invasions on floristic diversity.

Early stages of succession are most susceptible to invasion because resources and colonisation opportunities are elevated after disturbance. This trend is accentuated by human-mediated dispersal, a bias towards early successional species in the alien species pool, the tendency for fast-growing species to profit most from enemy release, and increased disturbance levels in human-modified habitats. Human disturbance, coupled with plant introductions, extends the diversity–disturbance curve and shifts peak diversity towards higher disturbance levels. However, invasive aliens can reduce native diversity at the community scale, especially in mid succession where competitive interactions structure communities. Certain invasive plants may have higher impacts because they overcome some life history tradeoffs as a result of their association with humans or novel evolutionary histories, e.g. enemy release. This may directly or indirectly (e.g. through plastic reallocation of resources from defence into growth) enable invasive plants to colonise earlier or persist into later stages of succession. By modifying disturbance regimes, invaders that transform the environment may also interfere with succession and precipitate low diversity communities. Low introduction rates of late successional species may currently limit impacts of aliens under infrequent disturbance.

IDH is a useful framework for understanding ecological communities. However, because of the novel evolutionary histories of alien species and the anthropogenic context in which they invade, disturbance levels that maximise total diversity in invaded communities can differ from those that maximise native diversity. Joint consideration of IDH and alien invasion patterns suggests a range of strategies can be used to manage diversity.

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Accepted/In Press date: 8 December 2011
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 January 2012
Published date: 20 June 2012
Organisations: Environmental

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 400850
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400850
ISSN: 1433-8319
PURE UUID: 4c062690-9a80-42e9-9984-65039ed4ffb9
ORCID for Jane Catford: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0582-5960

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Date deposited: 30 Sep 2016 11:04
Last modified: 29 Oct 2019 01:34

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Contributors

Author: Jane Catford ORCID iD
Author: Curtis C. Daehler
Author: Helen T. Murphy
Author: Andy W. Sheppard
Author: Britta D. Hardesty
Author: David A. Westcott
Author: Marcel Rejmánek
Author: Peter J. Bellingham
Author: Jan Pergl
Author: Carol C. Horvitz
Author: Philip E. Hulme

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