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Environmental Impact of Invasion by an African Grass (Echinochloa pyramidalis) on Tropical Wetlands: Using Functional Differences as a Control Strategy

  • Hugo López Rosas
  • Eduardo Cejudo
  • Patricia Moreno-CasasolaEmail author
  • Luis Alberto Peralta Peláez
  • María Elizabeth Hernández
  • Adolfo Campos C.
  • Gustavo Aguirre León
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 29)

Abstract

Tropical wetlands are commonly used for cattle ranching and have been modified either by draining them or introducing non-native species that are palatable to cattle. Some of these introduced species have become wetland and dune invaders. In Mexico, the introduction of antelope grass (Echinochloa pyramidalis) and its effects are being documented. This grass species is highly appreciated by cattle ranchers and is invading natural wetlands. It has C4 photosynthesis, high biomass production and high vegetative propagation, is tolerant to grazing and able to grow in both flooded and dry conditions. It is reducing plant biodiversity by increasing its own aerial coverage, changing wetland hydrology, reducing faunal habitat and causing soil physicochemical changes (e.g. vertical accretion). Reducing its dominance and increasing the density of native wetland species is difficult, expensive and time-consuming. We began a restoration project in a coastal wetland in central Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico, which included using shade to control the invader. This strategy reduced E. pyramidalis cover and increased the cover of native species, highlighting the importance of understanding the functional differences between native and invasive species when developing strategies for the control and eradication of problematic species.

Keywords

C4 photosynthesis Ecological restoration Ecosystem services Invasive grasses Mexico Shade treatments 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was made possible by funding from Conacyt-SEP (106451), CONABIO (HH024), the Instituto de Ecología A.C. (Red Ecología Funcional 902-16). Special thanks to all the staff at the Instituto de Ecología A.C., especially Roberto Monroy for his help with the figures and Gerardo Sánchez Vigil for the photos, and the CICOLMA field station for their invaluable support, especially Javier Tolome and Anastacio P. García Rodríguez. Bianca Delfosse for revising the English.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugo López Rosas
    • 1
  • Eduardo Cejudo
    • 2
  • Patricia Moreno-Casasola
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luis Alberto Peralta Peláez
    • 3
  • María Elizabeth Hernández
    • 1
  • Adolfo Campos C.
    • 1
  • Gustavo Aguirre León
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Ecología A.CXalapaMexico
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán A.CCancúnMexico
  3. 3.Instituto Tecnológico de VeracruzVeracruzMexico

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