Invasive species disturb ecosystems and threaten biodiversity. Invasive species management, such as biological control, can cause additional disturbances, so quantifying how native species respond to invasive control is important to inform best management practices.
Mahoney et al. quantified southwestern bird communities in sites that varied in the amount of the non-native plant tamarisk (Tamarix spp.), before and after biological control efforts. Following biocontrol, they found significant differences in community composition and diversity, and several bird species declined by ≥30%. Bird declines were ameliorated in the presence of native vegetation, consistent with the hypothesis that tamarisk biocontrol decreases prey availability and alters microclimate. They recommend land managers monitor areas dominated by tamarisk after biocontrol, and if re-establishment of native vegetation is slow or lacking, consider the feasibility of active restoration.
Mahoney, S.M., Johnson, M.J., Holmes, J.A., Dudley, T.L., Kuehn, M.J. and Theimer, T.C., 2022. Tamarisk biocontrol alters bird community composition in the absence of cottonwood and willow vegetation. Ornithological Applications124(2), p.duac012.
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