Potential impacts of the invasive exotic shrub Rhamnus frangula L. (glossy buckthorn) on forests of southern New Hampshire


This paper investigated the potential for the exotic shrub Rhamnus frangula L. (glossy buckthorn) to alter native plant community composition in southeastern New Hampshire. Stratified random sampling was performed with 2 m x 2 m plots randomly located in 5 m intervals along three 50 m transects in four even-aged Pinus-mixed hardwood forests, three of which were managed stands. The associations between R. frangula and the measured species abundances and environmental variables were investigated using linear, least-squares multiple regression and Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling Ordination. Plot basal area of R. frangula was inversely related to woody seedling density (p < 0.001), herb cover (p < 0.05), and species richness (p < 0.01). The relative contribution of R. frangula to explaining variance in seedling density was greater than canopy openness, soil pH, soil clay, or soil sand. Abundance of R. frangula was a statistically significant predictor (p < 0.05) of individual herb species abundances for all study sites. This evidence supports the hypothesis that R. frangula causes a decline in seedling density and alters native ground level plant species abundances. Furthermore, the patterns agree with the suppression of ground level plant species abundances by R. frangula found in removal experiments.

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Northeastern Naturalist


Eagle Hill Publications

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Northeastern Naturalist © 2003