Landscape ecology of Phragmites australis invasion in networks of linear wetlands

Abstract

The interaction between landscape structure and spatial patterns of plant invasion has been little addressed by ecologists despite the new insights it can provide. Because of their spatial configuration as highly connected networks, linear wetlands such as roadside or agricultural ditches, can serve as corridors facilitating invasion at the landscape scale, but species dynamics in these important habitats are not well known. We conducted a landscape scale analysis of Phragmites australis invasion patterns (1985–2002 and 1987–2002) in two periurban areas of southern Québec (Canada) focusing on the interaction between the network of linear wetlands and the adjacent land-uses. Results show that, at the beginning of the reference period, the two landscapes were relatively non-invaded and populations occurred mostly in roadside habitats which then served as invasion foci into other parts of the landscape. The intrinsic rates of increase of P. australis populations in linear anthropogenic habitats were generally higher than those reported for natural wetlands. Riparian habitats along streams and rivers were little invaded compared to anthropogenic linear wetlands, except when they intersected transportation rights-of-way. Bivariate spatial point pattern analysis of colonization events using both Euclidian and network distances generally showed spatial dependence (association) to source populations. An autologistic regression model that included landscape and edaphic variables selected transportation rights-of-way as the best predictor of P. australis occurrence patterns in one of the landscapes. Given the high invasion rates observed, managers of linear wetlands should carefully monitor expansion patterns especially when roads intersect landscapes of conservation or economic value.

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Acknowledgments

Funding for this research was provided to SdB by NSERC Discovery, NSERC Strategic and by the Ministère des Transports du Québec. This research benefited from the support and insightful comments of our NSERC Strategic research partners J. Brisson, F. Belzile, and C.␣Lavoie and their students. We thank Myosotis Bourgon Desroches for conducting germination tests, MBD and Mélodie Boulet for permutation tests and Benjamin Lelong for the genetic analyses of the P. australis samples. The SANET software was kindly provided by A. Okabe and S. Shiode from the Center for Spatial Information Science, University of Tokyo. This paper greatly benefited from the very constructive comments of K. Moloney and two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Sylvie de Blois.

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Maheu-Giroux, M., de Blois, S. Landscape ecology of Phragmites australis invasion in networks of linear wetlands. Landscape Ecol 22, 285–301 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-006-9024-z

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Keywords

  • Invasive species
  • Agricultural weed
  • Common reed
  • Corridor
  • Linear habitat
  • Autoregressive model
  • Network-K function
  • Road ecology
  • Spatial point pattern analysis
  • Autocorrelation