The potential for passive restoration in alien plant-invaded ecosystems in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR)

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Patricia Holmes

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Invasion by alien woody species is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of fynbos ecosystems in the CFR. This degradation impacts negatively on ecosystem services, such as water provisioning, as well as biodiversity. Fire is the main ecological driver in fynbos but also provides a window for invasion by fire-adapted alien trees and shrubs. Many fynbos species are killed by fire – termed obligate reseeders – while the remainder may resprout from lignotubers and other below-ground storage organs. Dense stands of alien trees shade out fynbos so natural recovery potential depends on the persistence of native soil-stored propagules and their germination following alien clearance. Few fynbos species can disperse far, thus colonization of highly degraded sites from intact remnants is slow. Density and duration of invasion are key to understanding thresholds to natural recovery. Other factors that influence recovery potential include the dominant invader species, vegetation type, quality of initial alien clearance and proximity to sources of fynbos and secondary invader species’ propagules.

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Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration