Woody invasions of urban trails and the changing face of urban forests in the great plains, USA

Kristine T. Nemec, Craig R. Allen, Aaron Alai, Greg Clements, Andrew C. Kessler, Travis Kinsell, Annabel Major, Bruce J. Stephen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Corridors such as roads and trails can facilitate invasions by non-native plant species. The open, disturbed habitat associated with corridors provides favorable growing conditions for many non-native plant species. Bike trails are a corridor system common to many urban areas that have not been studied for their potential role in plant invasions. We sampled five linear segments of urban forest along bike trails in Lincoln, Nebraska to assess the invasion of woody non-native species relative to corridors and to assess the composition of these urban forests. The most abundant plant species were generally native species, but five non-native species were also present: white mulberry (Morus alba), common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) and elm (Ulmus spp.). The distribution of two of the woody species sampled, common buckthorn and honeysuckle, significantly decreased with increasing distance from a source patch of vegetation (P = 0.031 and 0.030). These linear habitats are being invaded by non-native tree and shrub species, which may change the structure of these urban forest corridors. If non-native woody plant species become abundant in the future, they may homogenize the plant community and reduce native biodiversity in these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-256
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
Volume165
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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