Light availability prevails over soil fertility and structure in the performance of Asian knotweeds on riverbanks: new management perspectives.
Asian knotweeds (Fallopia spp.) are considered one of the world's most invasive species. Restoring habitats dominated by these exotic species requires a better understanding of the importance of abiotic factors controlling the invasive knotweeds performance. We used observational data obtained on the embankment of the Isère River (France) to study the performance of Fallopia spp. under different soil, light, and disturbance conditions. On the Isère riverbanks, light intensity assessed by light quantity transmitted through canopy was the most important factor explaining the variability observed on knotweed performance expressed as above-ground biomass per square meter. Asian knotweeds were more productive under intensive light conditions. Alternatively other factors such as mowing (twice a year), soil fertility, soil texture, position on the bank or exposure to the sun had no significant effect on knotweed biomass production. We conclude that decreasing light resources, for example, by increasing competitive pressure on sites dominated by Asian knotweeds could be included in management plans to control the populations of this invasive taxon.