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1 December 2002 Are invaders disturbance-limited? Conservation of mountain grasslands in Central Argentina
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Extensive areas in the mountain grasslands of central Argentina are heavily invaded by alien species from Europe. A decrease in biodiversity and a loss of palatable species is also observed. The invasibility of the tall-grass mountain grassland community was investigated in an experiment of factorial design. Six alien species which are widely distributed in the region were sown in plots where soil disturbance, above-ground biomass removal by cutting and burning were used as treatments. Alien species did not establish in undisturbed plots. All three types of disturbances increased the number and cover of alien species; the effects of soil disturbance and biomass removal was cumulative. Cirsium vulgare and Oenothera erythrosepala were the most efficient alien colonizers. In conditions where disturbances did not continue the cover of aliens started to decrease in the second year, by the end of the third season, only a few adults were established. Consequently, disturbances are needed to maintain alien populations in tall-grass mountain grasslands. Burning also increased the species richness of native species. We conclude that an efficient way to control the distribution of alien species is to decrease grazing pressure while burning as a traditional management tool may be continued.

Nomenclature: Cantero & Bianco (1986).

L. Petryna, M. Moora, C. O. Nuñes, J. J. Cantero, and M. Zobel "Are invaders disturbance-limited? Conservation of mountain grasslands in Central Argentina," Applied Vegetation Science 5(2), 195-202, (1 December 2002).[0195:AIDCOM]2.0.CO;2
Received: 6 April 2001; Accepted: 1 December 2001; Published: 1 December 2002

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