Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biotic, abiotic, and anthropogenic drivers of demographic performance of non-native Eucalyptus and Pinus species in forested areas of Spain.

Abstract

Non-native trees enhance services that are fundamental for human well-being. Yet, the extensive use of non-native trees has the potential of causing environmental and socio-economic harm. Eucalyptus and Pinus are the most widely distributed and extensively planted tree genera worldwide, because their rapid growth allows profitable production of timber and pulp. Their naturalization is causing severe effects on the environment, but the relative importance of underlying factors determining their demographic performance is not well known. Thus, our aim was to evaluate the relative importance of biotic, abiotic, and anthropogenic factors driving demographic changes of Eucalyptus and Pinus at the regional scale. We compiled environmental variables and demographic data for Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, and Pinus radiata across 6388 permanent forestland plots surveyed in the Spanish Forest Inventory (SFI). We used the second (1986-1996), third (1997-2007), and fourth (2008-2017) SFI datasets to quantify annual changes in basal area per plot between consecutive inventories (ΔBA; m2 ha-1 year-1). We also quantified the components of ΔBA: tree ingrowth (transitions from juvenile to adult trees), growth, and mortality. We evaluated juvenile recruitment with in-situ regeneration (No. juvenile trees ha-1) within plots already occupied by the focal species in the previous inventory, and with natural colonization of plots where the focal species was absent at the beginning of the time interval. We found that the structure of the biotic community was especially important to explain demographic performance of non-native trees growing in benign environments (E. globulus and P. radiata), whereas abiotic factors were particularly important regulating basal area increments of E. camaldulensis, which occurs in harsher environments. Basal area increments decreased with species and functional richness, heterospecific density, mean annual temperature, and increased with soil capacity to retain nutrients and water. Colonization of new plots increased with propagule availability in the surrounding landscape. Tree cutting was beneficial for P. radiata. Collectively, our results suggest that non-native trees perform better in forests with high propagule pressure, low biotic resistance, favourable abiotic conditions, and human management.