Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biology, ecology and management of Elaeagnus angustifolia L. (Russian olive) in Western North America.

Abstract

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is an alien tree that is increasingly common in riparian habitats of western North America. This paper reviews the pertinent scientific literature in order to determine the status of Russian olive as a riparian invader and to suggest ecological reasons for its success. Russian olive meets the biogeographic, spread, and impact criteria for invasive species. Ecological characteristics likely enabling its invasiveness include adaptation to the physical environmental conditions that characterize semiarid riparian habitats, lack of intense pressure from herbivores, and tolerance of the competitive effects of established vegetation. We believe that the success of this species is at least partly due to its ability to take advantage of the reduced levels of physical disturbance that characterize riparian habitats downstream from dams. Control of Russian olive is likely to be most promising where natural river flow regimes remain relatively intact.