Vegetation responses to Pinus radiata (D. Don) invasion: A multivariate analysis using principal response curves

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Journal Article
Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 2006, 127 (1), pp. 191 - 197
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Radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) has been introduced to many new regions outside its native range as a plantation species. Plantations are frequently located adjacent to native vegetation. This proximity allows not only pine wildings, but also large amounts of non-native leaf litter, to enter the surrounding natural vegetation. Our aim in the present study was to assess the composition of plant communities in vegetation surrounding plantations in relation to proximity to pine plantations. Using multivariate Principal Response Curves (PRC) analysis, we show significant differences in the composition of native vegetation between transects adjacent to and not adjacent to pine plantations. Species-level analysis identified a suite of native species that were frequently found in transects adjacent to pine plantations, and a second suite of native species that were reduced in abundance in transects next to pine plantations. This second group of species should be the focus of future conservation work, since they appear to be sensitive to disturbance wrought by pine plantations. We show that the ability of PRC analysis to reveal both community-level and species-level responses to disturbance brought about by exotic species can lead to the generation of testable hypotheses bridging species and community ecology.
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