Biological Invasions

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 805–819 | Cite as

Influence of woody invader control methods and seed availability on native and invasive species establishment in a Hawaiian forest

  • Rhonda K. Loh
  • Curtis C. Daehler
Original Paper


When invasive woody plants become dominant, they present an extreme challenge for restoration of native plant communities. Invasive Morella faya (fire tree) forms extensive, nearly monospecific stands in wet and mesic forests on the Island of Hawai’i. We used logging, girdling, and selective girdling over time (incremental girdling) to kill stands of M. faya at different rates, with the objective of identifying a method that best promotes native forest re-establishment. We hypothesized that rapid canopy opening by logging would lead to establishment of fast-growing, non-native invaders, but that slower death of M. faya by girdling or incremental girdling would increase the establishment by native plants adapted to partial shade conditions. After applying the M. faya treatments, seed banks, seed rain, and plant recruitment were monitored over 3 years. Different plant communities developed in response to the treatments. Increased light and nitrogen availability in the logged treatment were associated with invasion by non-native species. Native species, including the dominant native forest tree, (Metrosideros polymorpha) and tree fern (Cibotium glaucum), established most frequently in the girdle and incremental girdle treatments, but short-lived non-native species were more abundant than native species. A diverse native forest is unlikely to develop following any of the treatments due to seed limitation for many native species, but girdling and incremental girdling promoted natural establishment of major components of native Hawaiian forest. Girdling may be an effective general strategy for reestablishing native vegetation in areas dominated by woody plant invaders.


Girdling Morella faya Myrica faya Resource availability Restoration Seed bank Seed rain 



We thank Tim Tunison, Peter Urias, Alison Ainsworth, and the staff of the Division of Resources Management at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park for the tremendous support in the field and laboratory. Thanks to Peter Vitousek, Doug Turner, and Heraldo Farrington of Stanford University and the staff at the Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai’i at Manoa for their generosity in performing laboratory analysis, and providing equipment, technical advice, and laboratory space.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Resources ManagementHawai’i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP), National Park ServiceHawaii National ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of Hawai’i at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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