Non-target effects of invasive species management: Beachgrass, birds, and bulldozers in coastal dunes

Phoebe L. Zarnetske, Eric W. Seabloom, Sally D. Hacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alteration of ecosystem processes by invasive species can lead to the decline of native species. Management actions targeted at removing these invaders and restoring native populations may have knock-on effects on non-target native species and ecosystems. For example, coastal dunes in the Pacific Northwest of North America are nearly monocultures of the introduced beach grasses, Ammophila arenaria and Ammophila breviligulata. These invasive grasses have converted open, low-lying sand dunes with a sparse covering of native plants to tall, densely-vegetated ridges dominated by the two invaders. As a result, the critical open-sand habitat of the federally threatened Western Snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) has declined along with populations of several native dune plant species. Here we investigate how nearly 20 years of management targeted at the removal of Ammophila for plover recovery are impacting native plant species and dune morphology along 500 km of coastline in Oregon and Washington, USA. Despite increased plovers and decreased Ammophila in treated areas, plover habitat restoration also has had the unintentional effect of reducing the richness and abundance of native dune plants. Additionally, frequent Ammophila removal has prevented the re-establishment of the natural disturbance regime and dune function. Based on these findings, we suggest that the Pacific Northwest coastal dune ecosystem would benefit from a more synthetic community-wide management approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalEcosphere
Volume1
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 24 2010

Fingerprint

bulldozers
dunes
invasive species
dune
bird
Ammophila
birds
Charadrius alexandrinus
native species
ecosystems
ecosystem
Ammophila breviligulata
indigenous species
Ammophila arenaria
grass
grasses
Charadriidae
habitat restoration
habitat conservation
monoculture

Keywords

  • Ammophila arenaria
  • Ammophila breviligulata
  • Beachgrass
  • Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus
  • Coastal dune
  • Ecosystem engineer
  • Invasive species
  • Oregon
  • Restoration
  • Targeted management
  • Threatened species
  • Washington

Cite this

Non-target effects of invasive species management : Beachgrass, birds, and bulldozers in coastal dunes. / Zarnetske, Phoebe L.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Hacker, Sally D.

In: Ecosphere, Vol. 1, No. 5, 13, 24.11.2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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