The impact of invasive grasses on the population growth of Anemone patens, a long-lived native forb

Ecology. 2006 Dec;87(12):3200-8. doi: 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[3200:tioigo];2.


Negative impacts of invasive plants on natives have been well documented, but much less is known about whether invasive plants can cause population level declines. We used demographic models to investigate the effects of two invasive grasses on the demography and population growth of Anemone patens, a long-lived native perennial of North American grasslands. Demographic data of A. patens growing in patches characterized by Bromus inermis, Poa pratensis, or native grasses were used to parameterize integral projection models. Models based on both average conditions and those allowing for environmental stochasticity indicate that A. patens is slowly increasing in patches of native grass (lambda = 1.02) and declining in patches of invasive grasses, particularly those dominated by B. inermis (lambda = 0.93). Extinction probabilities indicate that A. patens should persist in native grass patches, but has a much higher probability of extinction in Bromus patches compared to Poa patches. While sensitivity analyses showed that survival had the biggest effect on population growth rates in all habitats, results of a Life Table Response Experiment (LTRE) revealed that slower individual growth rates in patches of invasive grasses contributed the most to the observed reduction in population growth. These results suggest that invasive grasses may cause slow declines in A. patens, despite short-term coexistence, and that controlling B. inermis only would not be sufficient to ensure A. patens persistence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Anemone / physiology*
  • Ecosystem
  • Extinction, Biological
  • Models, Biological
  • Poaceae / physiology*
  • Population Growth
  • Time Factors