Effects of floristics, physiognomy and non-native vegetation on riparian bird communities in a Mojave Desert watershed

Erica Fleishman, N. McDonal, R. Mac Nally, Danielle Murphy, J. Walters, T. Floyd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    98 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    1 In the deserts of the south-western United States of America, as in many ecoregions around the world, invasion of non-native plants is modifying the structure and composition of riparian vegetation.
    2 Restoration of native plant species frequently proves to be ecologically and economically difficult. In the Muddy River drainage in the Mojave Desert (Nevada, USA), eradication of one the most aggressive invasive plants, Tamarix ramosissima (salt-cedar), often reduces the structural and compositional diversity of the remaining vegetation. This can have negative effects on native animals, including birds.
    3 The objectives of our work were (i) to examine relationships between avian diversity and measures of vegetational diversity (species richness, dominance of non-native plants and vegetation structure [total vegetation volume]), (ii) to explore the extent to which avian community composition was associated with vegetation composition (floristics) or vegetation structure (physiognomy), and (iii) to consider the potential effects of alternative land management and ecological restoration strategies on the biodiversity of birds and other native fauna in watersheds in the arid south-western USA.
    4 Species richness of all birds and of breeding birds was best modelled by total vegetation volume alone. Neither species richness of plants nor dominance of non-native plants had a statistically significant effect on species richness, abundance or evenness of birds.
    5 Species composition of birds between sites was more similar when floristics was more similar, and vice versa. Species composition of birds was not correlated with physiognomy.
    6 Species richness of native birds in the Muddy River drainage appears not to suffer from invasion of non-native plants, provided that the vegetational community retains sufficient structural diversity.
    7 The composition of the bird community is closely related to floristics, and other taxonomic groups may exhibit different responses to vegetation structure and composition. Therefore, explicit strategies for landscape-scale management, restoration and maximization of native faunal diversity should consider how removal of invasive plants may affect physiognomy and floristics of the vegetational community as a whole.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)484-490
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
    Volume72
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Fingerprint

    Mojave Desert
    vegetation structure
    floristics
    desert
    watershed
    bird
    vegetation
    birds
    species diversity
    species richness
    drainage
    Tamarix ramosissima
    ecoregion
    Tamarix
    rivers
    Southwestern United States
    effect
    ecological restoration
    ecoregions
    river

    Cite this

    Fleishman, Erica ; McDonal, N. ; Mac Nally, R. ; Murphy, Danielle ; Walters, J. ; Floyd, T. / Effects of floristics, physiognomy and non-native vegetation on riparian bird communities in a Mojave Desert watershed. In: Journal of Animal Ecology. 2003 ; Vol. 72, No. 3. pp. 484-490.
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    abstract = "1 In the deserts of the south-western United States of America, as in many ecoregions around the world, invasion of non-native plants is modifying the structure and composition of riparian vegetation.2 Restoration of native plant species frequently proves to be ecologically and economically difficult. In the Muddy River drainage in the Mojave Desert (Nevada, USA), eradication of one the most aggressive invasive plants, Tamarix ramosissima (salt-cedar), often reduces the structural and compositional diversity of the remaining vegetation. This can have negative effects on native animals, including birds.3 The objectives of our work were (i) to examine relationships between avian diversity and measures of vegetational diversity (species richness, dominance of non-native plants and vegetation structure [total vegetation volume]), (ii) to explore the extent to which avian community composition was associated with vegetation composition (floristics) or vegetation structure (physiognomy), and (iii) to consider the potential effects of alternative land management and ecological restoration strategies on the biodiversity of birds and other native fauna in watersheds in the arid south-western USA.4 Species richness of all birds and of breeding birds was best modelled by total vegetation volume alone. Neither species richness of plants nor dominance of non-native plants had a statistically significant effect on species richness, abundance or evenness of birds.5 Species composition of birds between sites was more similar when floristics was more similar, and vice versa. Species composition of birds was not correlated with physiognomy.6 Species richness of native birds in the Muddy River drainage appears not to suffer from invasion of non-native plants, provided that the vegetational community retains sufficient structural diversity.7 The composition of the bird community is closely related to floristics, and other taxonomic groups may exhibit different responses to vegetation structure and composition. Therefore, explicit strategies for landscape-scale management, restoration and maximization of native faunal diversity should consider how removal of invasive plants may affect physiognomy and floristics of the vegetational community as a whole.",
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    Effects of floristics, physiognomy and non-native vegetation on riparian bird communities in a Mojave Desert watershed. / Fleishman, Erica; McDonal, N.; Mac Nally, R.; Murphy, Danielle; Walters, J.; Floyd, T.

    In: Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 72, No. 3, 2003, p. 484-490.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Fleishman, Erica

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