J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2008, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (5): 522-530.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00660.x

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Invasion Possibility and Potential Effects of Rhus typhina on Beijing Municipality

Guangmei Wang, Gaoming Jiang, Shunli Yu, Yinghao Li and Hui Liu   

Abstract: Rhus typhina, an alien species introduced from North America, was identified as a main afforestation species in Beijing municipality. However, its invasiveness is still at odds. To clarify this problem, we applied the North American Screening System and the Australian Screening System to preliminarily predict its invasion possibility. Both screening systems gave the same recommendation to "reject". The geographical distribution was surveyed, with the population features of R. typhina against the native plant communities being assessed. With anthropogenic assistance, R. typhina has been scattered on almost all habitats from downtown to mountains, including roadsides, farmlands and protected areas. As a clonal shrub, R. typhina possessed a high spreading rate, varying from 6.3 m/3 years at sterile habitats to 6.7 m/3 years at fertile ones. Significantly lower species richness, individual density and diversity were observed in the R. typhina community than those of the native Vitex negundo Linn.var. heterophylla (Franch.) Rehd. community at both sterile and fertile habitats. Continual wide plantation of R. typhina may further foster its population expansion, which helps the species to overcome spatial isolation. The fact that each root fragment can develop into a new individual makes R. typhina very difficult to be eradicated once established. From a biological point of view, we believe that R. typhina is a plant invader in Beijing. We therefore suggest the government should remove the name of R. typhina from the main tree species list in afforesting Beijing.

Key words: alien species, Beijing, ecological impact, evaluation, invasion, Rhus typhina

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