Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Ecological features of the ash-leaved maple regrowth in Russia's arid regions.

Abstract

The use of the ash-leaved maple in Russia used to be widespread in forestry and settlements landscaping. However, at the moment it is considered one of the most aggressive invasive tree species due to the high survival rate of its self-seeding offspring. In many regions it is listed in the local Black Books of Flora. Long-term observations of the condition, development and death of spontaneously rooting maple specimens have shown the degree of ecological compliance of this species with different habitat conditions. It is shown that self-sown maple is introduced into natural and artificial forest ecosystems for a short time (within the life cycle of plantations) on the vacated areas, for example, after the death of forest-forming species, thinning, and recreational compaction of soils. In treeless areas with optimal moisture supply, it settles in disturbed areas, even on barren soils, for example, it is rather common in private gardens, in city squares, in recesses along transport routes. Such a "nomadic" strategy allows it to occupy more and more habitats. It is important that seed individuals disappear without a trace after 20-35 years due to a weak competitive ability in a struggle for moisture and light with native species of trees, shrubs and grasses. Over the centuries-old period of introduction in Russia, this adventive species could not fully naturalize and find its ecological niche; nevertheless, as a planting material, its use should be limited to the floodplain forest conditions and landscaping of settlements.