Population Ecology

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 291–303 | Cite as

Modeling population growth and site specific control of the invasive Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) under differing fire regimes

  • Olusegun O. Osunkoya
  • Christine Perrett
  • Chandima Fernando
  • Cameron Clark
  • Sathyamurthy Raghu
Original article


It is at the population level that an invasion either fails or succeeds. Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) is a weed of great significance in Queensland Australia and globally but its whole life-history ecology is poorly known. Here we used 3 years of field data across four land use types (farm, hoop pine plantation and two open eucalyptus forests, including one with a triennial fire regime) to parameterise the weed’s vital rates and develop size-structured matrix models. Lantanacamara in its re-colonization phase, as observed in the recently cleared hoop pine plantation, was projected to increase more rapidly (annual growth rate, λ = 3.80) than at the other three sites (λ 1.88–2.71). Elasticity analyses indicated that growth contributed more (64.6 %) to λ than fecundity (18.5 %) or survival (15.5 %), while across size groups, the contribution was of the order: juvenile (19–27 %) ≥ seed (17–28 %) ≥ seedling (16–25 %) > small adult (4–26 %) ≥ medium adult (7–20 %) > large adult (0–20 %). From a control perspective it is difficult to determine a single weak point in the life cycle of lantana that might be exploited to reduce growth below a sustaining rate. The triennial fire regime applied did not alter the population elasticity structure nor resulted in local control of the weed. However, simulations showed that, except for the farm population, periodic burning could work within 4–10 years for control of the weed, but fire frequency should increase to at least once every 2 years. For the farm, site-specific control may be achieved by 15 years if the biennial fire frequency is tempered with increased burning intensity.


Australia Biological-invasions Demography Elasticity-analysis Matrix-models Weed 



We thank Roger Anderson of Forestry Plantation Queensland (Australia) for providing much needed logistic support and access to numerous hoop pine plantation and eucalyptus forests under FPQ jurisdiction. Thanks also to Glen Douglass for access and use of his cattle farm to document long-term demographic changes of the invasive lantana in abandoned primary production lands. Many volunteers over the years helped in collection of the field data, especially Amanda Dimmock, Matthew Shortus, Jayd McCarthy and Stephen Caruana. The research was funded by the Queensland government through the Land Protection Council and by the Australian Federal Government through its Weeds of National Significance (WONS) program for Lantana camara. The input of Dr Dane Panetta in reading various versions of the manuscript is acknowledged.

Supplementary material

10144_2013_364_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (260 kb)
Supplementary material (PDF 260 kb)


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Copyright information

© Crown Copyright as represented by: The State of Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia 2013 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olusegun O. Osunkoya
    • 1
  • Christine Perrett
    • 1
  • Chandima Fernando
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cameron Clark
    • 1
  • Sathyamurthy Raghu
    • 3
  1. 1.Invasive Plant and Animal Science Group, Biosecurity ScienceDepartment of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Ecosciences PrecinctBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland Biosecurity Control Centre, OxleyBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.USDA-ARS Australian Biological Control Laboratory and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Ecosciences PrecinctDutton ParkAustralia

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