Biosecurity Science

Brisbane, Australia

Biosecurity Science

Brisbane, Australia
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Raghu S.,CSIRO | Osunkoya O.O.,Biosecurity Science | Perrett C.,Biosecurity Science | Pichancourt J.-B.,CSIRO
Basic and Applied Ecology | Year: 2014

Weather is a general stochastic influence on the life history of weeds. In contrast, anthropogenic disturbance (e.g. land use) is an important deterministic influence on weed demography. Our aim with this study was to investigate the relative contributions of land use and weather on the demography of Lantana camara (lantana), a weed of agricultural and natural habitats, based on the intensive monitoring of lantana populations under three land uses (viz. farm[pasture], and burnt and grazed forests) in subtropical Australia. Lantana populations were growing vigorously across all land uses (asymptotic population growth rate, λ>. 3). Examination of historical demography using retrospective perturbation analyses showed that weather was a strong influence on lantana demography with the transition from an El Niño (2008-09) to a La Niña (2009-10) year having a strong positive effect on population growth rate. This effect was most marked at the grazed site, and to a lesser extent at the burnt site, with seedling-to-juvenile and juvenile-to-adult transitions contributing most to these effects. This is likely the result of burning and grazing having eliminated/reduced interspecific competition at these sites. Prospective perturbation analyses revealed that λ was most sensitive to proportionate changes in growth transitions, followed by fecundity and survival transitions. Examination of context-specific patterns in elasticity revealed that growth and fecundity transitions are likely to be the more critical vital rates to reduce λ in wet years at the burnt and grazed forest sites, compared to the farm/pasture site. Management of lantana may need to limit the transition of juveniles into the adult stages, especially in sites where lantana is free from competition (e.g. in the presence of fire or grazing), and this particularly needs to be achieved in wet years. Collectively, these results shed light on aspects of spatial and temporal variation in the demography of lantana, and offer insights on its context-specific management. © 2014.

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