Environmental Management

, 48:764

Establishment Success of Coexisting Native and Exotic Trees Under an Experimental Gradient of Irradiance and Soil Moisture

  • Noelia González-Muñoz
  • Pilar Castro-Díez
  • Natalia Fierro-Brunnenmeister

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-011-9731-3

Cite this article as:
González-Muñoz, N., Castro-Díez, P. & Fierro-Brunnenmeister, N. Environmental Management (2011) 48: 764. doi:10.1007/s00267-011-9731-3


The exotic trees Ailanthus altissima,Robinia pseudoacacia, Acer negundo and Elaeagnus angustifolia coexist with the native trees Fraxinus angustifolia and Ulmus minor in river banks of central Spain. Similarly, the exotic trees Acacia dealbata and Eucalyptus globulus co-occur with the natives Quercus pyrenaica and Pinus pinaster in Northwest Spain. We aimed to identify the environmental conditions that favour or hamper the establishment success of these species. In spring 2008, seeds of the studied species were sown under an experimental gradient of light (100, 65, 35, 7% of full sunlight) combined with three levels of soil moisture (mean soil water potential = −0.97, −1.52 and −1.77 MPa.). During the first growing season we monitored seed emergence and seedling survival. We found that the effect of light on the establishment success was stronger than the effect of soil moisture. Both exotic and native species of central Spain showed a good performance under high light, A. negundo being the most shade tolerant. Water shortage diminished E. angustifolia and A. altissima success. Among NW Spain species, A. dealbata and P. pinaster were found to be potential competitors for colonizing high-irradiance scenarios, while Q. pyrenaica and E. globulus were more successful under moderate shade. High soil moisture favoured E. globulus but not A. dealbata establishment. These results contribute to understand some of the factors controlling for spatial segregation between coexisting native and exotic tree species, and can help to take decisions orientated to the control and management of these exotic species.


Emergence Seedling survival Exotic trees Drought tolerance Shade tolerance 

Supplementary material

267_2011_9731_MOESM1_ESM.doc (36 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 36 kb)
267_2011_9731_MOESM2_ESM.doc (95 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 95 kb)
267_2011_9731_MOESM3_ESM.doc (76 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 75 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noelia González-Muñoz
    • 1
  • Pilar Castro-Díez
    • 1
  • Natalia Fierro-Brunnenmeister
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EcologyAlcalá UniversityMadridSpain

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