, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp 2357-2370
Date: 16 Apr 2008

Landscape dynamics and habitat selection by the alien invasive Fallopia (Polygonaceae) in Belgium

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Habitat patch colonization dynamics and distribution patterns were analysed at a landscape scale in four invasive Fallopia (Polygonaceae) species. Fallopia sachalinensis and F. aubertii were uncommon and population expansion was not evident during the three consecutive years of study. The two most widespread species, F. japonica and F. × bohemica displayed similar habitat selection patterns with ruderal and natural/semi-natural forests favoured. The highest densities of F. japonica and F. × bohemica individuals were at the edge of preferred habitat patches with different patterns of edge selection. Linear network played an important role in species invasion, with 71% of all F. japonica and F. × bohemica occurring within a 10 m buffer of total linear networks (roads, railways, and rivers). However, the buffer represented only 14.5% of the total landscape surface. The rate of population increase was higher for F. japonica (75.8% and 35.2%, in 2002 and 2003, respectively) than for F. × bohemica (63.6% and 0% in 2002 and 2003, respectively) and was largely the result of intra-patch dynamics with low inter-patch colonization. The total surface area occupied by Fallopia clones in the landscape grew by 34.7% over 2 years of the study, with comparable area growth means for F. japonica and F. × bohemica (34.9% and 34.7%, respectively). The hypothesis that F. × bohemica exhibits higher invasive dynamics due to both clonal and sexual reproduction was not supported by our results.