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Invasive Fig Trees (Ficus Carica) In The Riparian Forests Of California's Central Valley

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The riparian forests of California's Central Valley are some of the most structurally complex habitats in the world. They support a large number of resident species and provide important habitat for migratory birds along the Pacific flyway. Unfortunately, agriculture, flood control, and suburbanization have reduced these forests to less than 6% of their original extent, and the remaining fragments are often further degraded by the invasion of aggressive, non-native plants. The edible fig (Ficus carica) is a ...
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More About This Book

Overview

The riparian forests of California's Central Valley are some of the most structurally complex habitats in the world. They support a large number of resident species and provide important habitat for migratory birds along the Pacific flyway. Unfortunately, agriculture, flood control, and suburbanization have reduced these forests to less than 6% of their original extent, and the remaining fragments are often further degraded by the invasion of aggressive, non-native plants. The edible fig (Ficus carica) is a particularly problematic invader of Central Valley riparian forests and is the focus of this dissertation. The first chapter reconstructs the rate of expansion and spatial distribution of the invasive fig population over a 70-year invasion period at Caswell Memorial State Park. Although fig initially experienced a long lag in its invasion rate, it is now expanding exponentially, with most new recruitment occurring along seasonally-moist sloughs located near reproductive adults. A number of different factors, including shade suppression, pollinator presence, propagule pressure, dispersal distance, and safe-sites for recruitment, have influenced the rate and pattern of the fig invasion. The second chapter quantifies the changes caused by fig in the plant communities it invades and examines the role of allelopathy as a mechanism for these changes. At several natural areas in the Central Valley, fig has greatly reduced the richness and significantly simplified the physiognomy of the plant communities it has invaded. A series of Petri dish bioassays and natural soil pot cultures indicates that, depending upon site-specific environmental factors, allelopathic alteration of soil is a likely contributor toward fig's ability to supplant native plants. The third chapter tests the efficacy of several herbicide treatments in killing fig and investigates the potential for off-target herbicidal activity on native plants. Basal bark application of 25% triclopyr (GarlonRTM 4) was the only treatment that effectively controlled fig; however, the high stem density of invasive fig groves created herbicide application rates that greatly exceeded labeled maximum use rates. As a result, 25 weeks after application, soil in treated fig groves still contained high herbicide residues which resulted in significant mortality of native plant transplants.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243537010
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 116
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.24 (d)

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