The effect of emerald ash borer-caused tree mortality on the invasive shrub Amur honeysuckle and their combined effects on tree and shrub seedlings
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Invasive insects and plants are major threats to the health and viability of North American forests. Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) (EAB) may cause extensive changes to forest composition due to rapid ash (Fraxinus spp.) mortality. Invasive shrubs like Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) may benefit from EAB and have negative effects on woody seedlings. We predict that ash mortality has positive effects on seedling abundance, recruitment, and survival, but that these effects are influenced by L. maackii basal area and/or cover. We sampled 16 sites, representing a chronosequence of ash mortality throughout western Ohio. We tested whether L. maackii growth and fecundity varied in relation to ash decline. We also investigated effects of ash decline, stand basal area (BA), L. maackii BA and percent cover on woody seedling abundance, recruitment, and survival using linear mixed models evaluated with Akaike's Information Criterion. These same responses were also investigated for four seedling groups: L. maackii, invasive plants (excluding L. maackii), shade tolerant natives, and shade intolerant natives. We found a significant positive relationship between ash decline and L. maackii BA growth. Lower seedling species richness corresponded with greater L. maackii BA and better ash condition. Greater L. maackii BA was also associated with lower seedling abundance and recruitment, as well as abundance and recruitment of shade-tolerant species, and recruitment of shade-intolerant species. Sites with poorer ash condition and greater L. maackii BA had more L. maackii seedlings. These findings indicate that the negative effects of L. maackii are more important to future forest composition than ash decline; however ash decline increases L. maackii growth, hence exacerbating the effects of this invasive shrub.
KeywordsTree fall gap Facilitation Fraxinus Agrilus planipennis Lonicera maackii Seedling recruitment Chronosequence Shade tolerance
Hoven, Brian M.; Gorchov, David L.; Knight, Kathleen S.; Peters, Valerie E. 2017. The effect of emerald ash borer-caused tree mortality on the invasive shrub Amur honeysuckle and their combined effects on tree and shrub seedlings. Biological Invasions. 19(10): 2813-2836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1485-2.