, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 205-211

Non-Indigenous Woody Invasive Plants in a Rural New England Town

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We investigated the abundance of non-indigenous woody invasive plants in Farmington, Maine, a rural New England town in a forested landscape. We found 12 invasive species and more than 7 patches per km from surveys on 33 transects (54.3 km) along field edges, abandoned railroad right-of-ways, roadsides, and riparian zones. Invasive abundance was apparently lower than for more developed areas of the northeastern US, where, in contrast to western Maine, invasives have extensively penetrated forest interiors. Invasive abundance increased with the amount of landscaping and proximity to town, suggesting a close association between local horticulture and the spread of woody invasives. Invasive abundance and diversity were highest in riparian areas, probably due to relatively high levels of propagule pressure. Species differed in the extent of invasiveness, ranging from those still dependent on planted parent trees to fully invasive populations. The invasive species recorded in this study have caused environmental and economic damage elsewhere. The lower levels of invasiveness in Farmington are likely a result of the isolation, small human population, and forested landscape rather than low levels of invasibility. This suggests the potential for future risks, and the importance of intervention while populations can still be eradicated or controlled.