Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 459–466 | Cite as

Evaluating the distribution of invasive woody vegetation around riparian corridors in relation to land use

  • Murat Atasoy
  • Christopher J. Anderson
  • Filiz Guneysu Atasoy


Invasive species have been causing important and irreversible impacts to native species and communities of ecosystems. They distort ecosystem functions by degrading forest lands, wetlands, and agricultural habitats and replace the native vegetation and reduce biodiversity, forest productivity, and suitable wildlife habitat. To address disturbances caused by invasive species occurrence, further information is needed regarding the occurrence, extent, and dispersal of invasive species and how land use may increase the spread of these species. The objective of this study was to find the frequency and dominance of three invasive species common to riparian areas of east Alabama: Ligustrum sinense (Chinese privet), Elaeagnus pungens (silverthorn), and Triadica sebifera (Chinese tallow tree). Surveys of these species in riparian forests in and around Auburn, Alabama were conducted to show the relative extent of these shrubs and their relation to urban land use. It was expected to see the highest levels of invasive species in the city center with decreasing levels radiating outward into rural areas. Another objective was how urban land use may affect the presence-absence and prevalence of these non-native plant species within study sites. The results showed that around the city center and suburban lands, cover of both Chinese privet and silverthorn tended to increase. In contrast, Chinese tallow tree density percent cover showed an opposite trend with landscapes close to city center often having slightly less cover. This study shows that urban land use may be an important association with distribution of invasive plant species.


Invasive species Urbanization Ecological planning Ecosystem management 


  1. AlabamaView (2014) Alabama VIEW GIS maps. Retrieved from Accessed 15 July 2014
  2. Barksdale FW, Anderson JC (2014) The influence of land use on forest structure, species composition, and soil conditions in headwater-slope wetlands of coastal Alabama, USA. Int J Biodivers Sci Ecosyst Serv Manag.
  3. Battaglia LL, Denslow SJ, Inczauskis RJ, Baer GS (2009) Effects of native vegetation on invasion success of Chinese tallow in a floating marsh ecosystem. J Ecol 2009:239–246. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bellemere J, Motzkin G, Foster RD (2002) Legacies of the agricultural past in the forested present: an assessment of historical land-use effects on rich mesic forests. J Biogeogr 29:1401–1420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borgmann LK, Rodewaldi DA (2005) Forest restoration in urbanizing landscapes: Interactions between land uses and exotic shrubs. Restor Ecol 13(2):334–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brantley EF (2008) Influence of Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour.) on riparian forests of the Southern Piedmont: Net primary productivity, carbon sequestration, and native plant regeneration. Dissertation, Auburn UniversityGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell FT (1998) “Worst” Invasive plant species in the conterminous United States. Western Ancient Forest Campaign Report, SpringfieldGoogle Scholar
  8. Caughlin T, Wheeler HJ, Jankowski J, Lichstein WJ (2012) Urbanized landscapes favored by fig-eating birds increase invasive but not native juvenile strangler fig abundance. Ecology 93(7):1571–1580CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chadwick MA, Dooberfuhl DR, Benke AC, Huryn AD, Suberkropp K, Thiele JE (2006) Urbanization affects stream ecosystem function by altering hydrology, chemistry, and biotic richness. Ecol Appl 16:1796–1807CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. City of Auburn (2014) City of Auburn GIS Software. Retrieved from http://webgis.auburn Accessed 25 July 2014
  11. Davis MA, Grime JP, Thompson K (2000) Fluctuating resources in plant communities: a general theory of invasibility. J Ecol 88:528–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ehrenfield JG, Stander EK (2010) Habitat function in urban riparian zones. In: Urban ecosystem ccology. Agron. Monogr. 55. ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, pp 103–118.
  13. Forsyth GG, Richardson DM, Brown PJ, Wilgen WB (2004) A rapid assessment of the invasive status of Eucalyptus species in the two South African provinces. S Afr J Sci 100:75–77Google Scholar
  14. Gordon D (1998) Effects of Invasive, Non-indigenous Plant Species on Ecosystem Processes: Lessons From Florida. Ecol Appl 8(4):975–989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Greene B, Blossey B (2014) Patterns of Privet: Urbanizing Watersheds, Invasive Ligustrum sinense, and Performance of Native Plant Species in Piedmont Floodplain Forests. Ecosystems 17:990–1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Groffman PM, Bain D, Band L, Belt KT, Brush GS, Grove JM, Pouyat RV, Yesilonis IC, Zipperer WC (2003) Down by the riverside: urban riparian ecology. Front Ecol Environ 1:315–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jennings DB, Jarnagin ST (2002) Changes in anthropogenic impervious surfaces, precipitation and daily streamflow discharge: a historical perspective in a mid-atlantic subwatershed. Landsc Ecol 17:471–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kuhman TR (2009) The influence of past and present land use on non-native plant invasion in the southern Appalachians. A doctorate thesis (Zoology) at University of Wisconsin-MadisonGoogle Scholar
  19. Loewenstein NJ, Loewnstein EF (2005) Non-native plants in the understory of riparian forests across a land use gradient in the Southeast. Urban Ecosyst 8:79–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lundgren MR, Small JC, Dreyer GD (2004) Influence of land use and site characteristics on invasive plant abundance in the Quinebaug Highlands of southern New England. Northeast Nat 11:313–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mack RN, Erneberg M (2002) The United States naturalized flora: largely the product of deliberate introductions. Ann Mo Bot Gard 89:176–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Malanson GP (1993) Riparian Landscapes. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mattingly BW, Orrock LJ (2013) Historical land use influences contemporary establishment of invasive plant species. Oecologia 172:1147–1157CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Mehrhoff LJ, Silander JA, Leicht SA, Mosher ES Tabak NM (2003) Invasive Plant Atlas of New England. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, USA. Retrieved from
  25. Merriam RW, Feil E (2002) The potential impact of an introduced shrub on native plant diversity and forest regeneration. Biol Invasions 4:369–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nagy CR, Lockaby GB (2011) Urbanization in the Southeastern United States: Socioeconomic forces and ecological responses along an urban-rural gradient. Urban Ecosyst 14:71–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. NOAA (2015) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved from Accessed 5 Jan 2015
  28. Pandi I, Penksza K, Dukat BZ, Dulay KG (2014) People move but cultivated plants stay: abandoned farmsteads support the persistence and spread of alien plants. Biodivers Conserv 23:1289–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parker DJ, Richie JL, Lind ME, Maloney OK (2009) Land use history alters the relationship between native and exotic plants: the rich don't always get richer. Biol Invasions.
  30. Paul MJ, Meyer JL (2001) Streams in the urban landscape. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 32:333–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pimentel D, Lach L, Zuniga R, Morrison D (2000) Environmental and economic costs of nonindigenous species in the United States. Bioscience 50(1):53–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pizarro GIG, Radeloff VC, Stewart SI, Huebner CD, Keuler NS (2010) Housing is positively associated with invasive exotic plant species richness in England, USA. Ecol Appl 20(7):1913–1925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shuster WD, Hermsi CP, Frey MN, Doohan DJ, Cardina J (2005) Comparison of survey methods for an invasive plant at the subwatershed level. Biol Invasions 7:393–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Siebenthaler JD (2014) Lee County. Retrieved from Accessed 15 March 2015
  35. Stohlgren TJ, Barnett TD, Kartesz J (2003) The rich get richer: patterns of plant invasions in the United States. Front Ecol Environ 1:11–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sung YC, Li M, Rogers OG, Volder A, Wang Z (2011) Investigating alien plant invasion in urban riparian areas in a hot and semi-arid region. Landsc Urban Plan 100(3):278–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Terrerai F, Gaertner M, Jacobs MS, Richardson MD (2015) Resilience of Invaded Riparian Landscapes: The potential Role of Soil-Stored Seed Banks. Environ Manag 55:86–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Trani MK (2002) Terrestrial ecosystems. In: Wear DN, Greis JG (eds) Southern Forest Resource Assessment. General Technical Report No. SRS-53. Southern Research Station, USDA, Forest Service, Washington, pp 3–45Google Scholar
  39. UCB (2010) United States Census Bureau, population statistics. Retrieved from Accessed 16 March 2014
  40. Wang H, Grant W (2012) Determinants of Chinese and European Privet (Ligustrum sinense and Ligustrum vulgare) Invasion and Likelihood of Further Invasion in Southern U.S. Forestlands. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 5(4):454–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wear DN, Greis, JG (2013) The Southern Forest Futures Project: technical report. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-GTR-178. Asheville: USDA-Forest Service, Southern Research Station, p 542Google Scholar
  42. Wilcove DS, Rothstein D, Dubow J, Phillips A, Losos E (1998) Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States. Bioscience 48:607–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication March/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murat Atasoy
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Anderson
    • 1
  • Filiz Guneysu Atasoy
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Agricultural Economics and Rural SociologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

Personalised recommendations