Removal of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, from riparian forests influences headwater stream biota and ecosystem function

  • Published source details McNeish R.E., Moore E.M., Benbow M.E. & McEwan R.W. (2015) Removal of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, from riparian forests influences headwater stream biota and ecosystem function. River Research and Applications, 31, 1131-1139.


Action: Control problematic riparian plants

A controlled, before-and-after study in 2010–2012 of a headwater stream in Ohio, USA (McNeish et al. 2015) found that clearing non-native woody plants from the riparian zone had no significant effect on the biomass of algae growing on rocks in the stream. Over two years after intervention, algal biomass was statistically similar in a reach from which woody plants had been cleared (0–1.2 mg chl a/cm2) and a reach where woody plants had been left in place (0–1.8 mg chl a/cm2). This is despite a significantly lower canopy cover in the cleared reach (25–83%) than than the uncleared reach (70–97%). Before intervention, algal biomass was statistically similar in each treatment (0.1–0.2 mg chl a/cm2). Methods: In August–September 2010, non-native woody plants (mostly Amur honeysuckle Lonicera maackii) were cleared from the riparian forest along a 150-m-long river reach. Woody plants were cut down and removed, then glyphosate herbicide was applied to stumps. Non-native woody plants were left in a separate reach immediately upstream. Algae were surveyed monthly between July 2010 and May 2012 (scrubbed off five rocks/reach/survey, collected from riffles). Biomass was determined from chlorophyll a. Canopy cover was surveyed with a densitometer between May 2011 and July 2012.


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