Impacts of introduced Spartina alterniflora along an elevation gradient at the Jiuduansha Shoals in the Yangtze Estuary, suburban Shanghai, China
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Although much research has focused upon the negative impacts of invasive Spartina alterniflora upon salt marshes dominated by other Spartina spp., little is known about its impacts upon native Scirpus mariqueter marshes. In 1997, S. alterniflora was introduced to the Jiuduansha Shoals, Yangtze Estuary, China, to accelerate the formation of marsh habitat via accretionary processes, with the larger goal of drawing waterfowl away from wetlands near the Pudong International Airport, Shanghai, China. In 2000, a nature reserve was established on the Jiuduansha Shoals, making the impact upon the native S. mariqueter community a high priority for research. Our objective was to quantify the impacts of introduced S. alterniflora and Phragmites australis to the native S. mariqueter-dominated community at this site in four elevation zones, as compared with a nearby natural shoal. We found that species diversity was greater in the lower elevations with the engineering, through elimination of the natural dominance of S. mariqueter. We also found that diversity was lessened in the higher elevations, due to rapid growth and exclusion by the planted S. alterniflora in conjunction with the native P. australis. Moreover, we found that the growth of the native S. mariqueter was stimulated when S. alterniflora was planted nearby. It is quite likely that the net effect of these ecological processes will be to accelerate further accretion, leading to an eventual replacement of the S. mariqueter-dominated community in the long-term. Future management approaches should focus upon harvesting, grazing, and perimeter-ditching the S. alterniflora to avoid this situation. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
author list (cited authors)
He, W., Feagin, R., Lu, J., Liu, W., Yan, Q., & Xie, Z.