, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 589-599
Date: 12 Dec 2006

Effects of surrounding urbanization on non-native flora in small forest patches

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The purpose of our study was to compare the number, proportion, and species composition of introduced plant species in forest patches situated within predominantly forested, agricultural, and urban landscapes. A previous study suggested that agricultural landscape context does not have a large effect on the proportion of introduced species in forest patches. Therefore, our main goal was to test the hypothesis that forest patches in an urban landscape context contain larger numbers and proportions of non-native plant species. We surveyed the vegetation in 44 small remnant forest fragments (3–7.5 ha) in the Ottawa region; 15 were situated within forested landscapes, 18 within agricultural landscapes, and 11 within urban landscapes. Forest fragments in urban landscapes had about 40% more introduced plant species and a 50% greater proportion of introduced plant species than fragments found in the other two types of landscape. There was no significant difference in the number or proportion of introduced species in forest fragments within forested vs. agricultural landscapes. However, the species composition of introduced species differed among the forest patches in the three landscape types. Our results support the hypothesis that urban and suburban areas are important foci for spread of introduced plant species.