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Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 1127–1141 | Cite as

Lantana camara invasion in a heterogeneous landscape: patterns of spread and correlation with changes in native vegetation

  • Bharath SundaramEmail author
  • Ankila J. Hiremath
Original Paper

Abstract

The effects of invasive species on community structure remain under-investigated due to the lack of long-term data. Our objectives were to examine the correlation between Lantana camara L. invasion and native species abundance, distribution, diversity, and population structure, across different forest types in a heterogeneous landscape. We examined changes in native vegetation and L. camara between 1997 and 2008. We used existing vegetation data from 134 plots spread across the 540 km2 landscape from 1997 and re-censused these plots in 2008. We then examined the change in species richness, Shannon’s diversity, evenness, and population structure of native species from 1997 to 2008. We also examined the relationship between L. camara density and species richness, diversity, evenness, and population structure. The presence and abundance of L. camara increased dramatically from 1997 to 2008. L. camara occurred in 81% of plots by 2008, compared with only 41% of plots in 1997. Similarly, the mean density of L. camara increased almost fourfold from 1997 to 2008. This was accompanied by a change in native community structure. Species richness, diversity and evenness declined significantly in some forest types, and at the landscape scale. There were also changes in the population structure of native tree species, with reductions in the density of tree saplings, possibly due to competition with L. camara. We demonstrate the pervasive threat posed by L. camara to native vegetation at the scale of individual forest types, and at the larger landscape scale, in our study area. These changes have long-term consequences for forest structure and composition.

Keywords

Biological invasion Lantana camara Heterogeneous landscapes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank D. Kethe Gowda for his invaluable assistance in the field, and the staff of the Biligiri Field Station, BRT for their support. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Gladwin Joseph, and 3 anonymous reviewers provided comments that greatly improved the quality of this manuscript. This work was funded by a grant from the International Foundation for Science, Sweden, and the Department of Science and Technology, India.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)BangaloreIndia
  2. 2.National Centre for Biological Sciences, GKVKBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)New DelhiIndia

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