The ecological effects of Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) invasion: a synthesis.
Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour.) is a deciduous to evergreen shrub with an expansive nonnative global range. Control costs are often high, so land managers must carefully consider whether the plant's potential negative effects warrant active management. To help facilitate this decision-making process, we reviewed and synthesized the literature on the potential ecological effects of L. sinense invasion. We also identified research gaps in need of further study. We found ample evidence of negative relationships between L. sinense invasion and native plant communities. While observational studies are not able to confirm whether L. sinense is driving these relationships, experimental evidence suggests that there is a cause-effect relationship. Of particular concern is the possibility that L. sinense could suppress forest regeneration and cause areas to transition from forest to L. sinense-dominated shrublands. Although this outcome would obviously impact a wide variety of wildlife species, empirical evidence of negative effects of L. sinense on wildlife are limited, and some species may actually benefit from the additional cover and foraging opportunities that L. sinense can provide. Further research on the potential effects of L. sinense invasion on large-scale forest structure and wildlife populations is needed. In areas where L. sinense invasion is a concern, evidence suggests early detection and management can mitigate control costs.