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Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

Abstract

This study surveyed the distributions of three invasive plant species, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Psidium cattleianum, and Litsea glutinosa at the Analalava Special Reserve in Mahavelona, Madagascar. Analalava is a 229-hectare degraded patch of low-elevation humid forest on the northeast coast of Madagascar, and one of the last forest fragments remaining in the region. It is a haven for biodiversity, containing 343 recorded species of plants, 12 of which are locally endemic. Invasive species are considered the second-most significant threat to biodiversity, both worldwide and specifically at Analalava. Based on a systematic transect survey of these three targeted invasive species, their distributions appear to correlate mainly with open, degraded, swampy, and edge habitats. With the partial exception of L. glutinosa, these plants were not found in the closed-canopy forest interior, and when present, they were usually classified as a “low” level of invasion. Due to Analalava’s protected status and ongoing reforestation efforts, the area of degraded forest is not likely to increase, which should limit the amount of preferred habitat for these invasive species. Suggestions for management of each of the three species involve an integrated approach, incorporating chemical control for M. quinquenervia and cultural control for P. cattleianum and L. glutinosa. Although invasive species do present a significant risk to biodiversity at Analalava, the populations of the three target species in this study are not widespread throughout the reserve. They can be managed, or at the very least monitored, to achieve the short-term objective of containment and control.

Disciplines

Biodiversity | Botany | Environmental Sciences | Other Plant Sciences | Weed Science

 

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