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1 January 2018 The Influence of Management Regimes and Habitat Characteristics on the Persistence and Current Occupancy of the Non-Native Melinis repens (Natalgrass)
Kathryn E. Tisshaw, Eric S. Menges
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Abstract
Although prescribed fires and pre-treatments (e.g., roller chopping and mowing) are used by public and private landowners to manage natural habitats in Florida, they can influence the invasion and spread of non-native plants in natural areas. Firelanes and roads used to access habitat for management practices create corridors for invasive grasses. Melinis repens (Natalgrass) is an invasive plant found throughout Florida. Fire regimes and roads acting as corridors may affect invasion and persistence of Natalgrass, but these topics have not been well-studied. Following up on distribution data originally collected in 2002 at Archbold Biological Station, we explored how fire regimes, distance to road, habitat type, and microhabitat factors influenced Natalgrass persistence through 2016, and current Natalgrass occupancy. Persistence from 2002–2016 was not influenced by distance to road. However, Natalgrass was currently more likely to occupy habitat closest to roads and was more likely to persist in areas burned within 16 y. Although Natalgrass was most likely to persist in human modified habitat, it still persisted in and occupied interior scrub habitat. Natalgrass was more likely to occupy areas with lower litter, shrub, and palmetto cover, which are characteristics of many habitats, including sandy roadsides and recently burned scrub habitat. These results suggest Natalgrass is able to persist in habitats other than roads, and distance to road did not influence its persistence; thus, land managers should treat interior habitat where Natalgrass is persisting. At the same time, searches for new populations of Natalgrass should be focused largely in areas close to corridors, such as in roads and firelanes.
Kathryn E. Tisshaw and Eric S. Menges "The Influence of Management Regimes and Habitat Characteristics on the Persistence and Current Occupancy of the Non-Native Melinis repens (Natalgrass)," Southeastern Naturalist 17(4), 654-670, (1 January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1656/058.017.0419
Published: 1 January 2018
JOURNAL ARTICLE
17 PAGES


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