Evaluating the Distribution and Dispersal of Invasive Woody Vegetation Related to Land Use in Auburn, Alabama
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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The spread of invasive species in riparian areas is an international problem and has resulted in significant loss of native species in riparian areas worldwide, including the east Alabama region. The objective of this study was to find the frequency and dominance of these invasive shrubs by surveying the extent of Ligustrum sinense (Chinese privet), Elaeagnus pungens (Silverthorn), and Tridica sebifera (Chinese Tallow tree) and its potential relation to urban land use in riparian areas of Auburn, AL. Historical land use may also be important to the current distribution of invasive plants. Using Chinese privet (one of the region's most pervasive species), we explored potential relationships between historical land use and colonization of Chinese privet in Auburn, AL. This study indicates that changes in distribution and richness of invasive plants are occurring in response to urban land use change in riparian areas. Urban sites were positively associated with dominance of invasive plants, primarily Chinese privet. Results of this research highlights the impacts of urbanization and historical land use on colonization and distribution of invasive plants in riparian forests.