Alien plant species composition and associations with anthropogenic disturbance in North American forests
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Martin A. Stapanian; Scott D. Sundberg; Greg A. Baumgardner; Aaron Liston
Publication Year: 1998

Cataloging Information

  • alien species
  • anthropogenic disturbance
  • artificial regeneration
  • biological invasions
  • disturbance
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • forests
  • grazing
  • ground vegetation
  • invasive species
  • livestock
  • logging
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 3, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 50338
Tall Timbers Record Number: 26926
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


A probability-based sampling scheme was used to survey plant species composition in forests of 16 states in seven geopolitical regions of the United States (California, Colorado, Minnesota, and parts of the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast) in 1994. The proportion of alien species relative to the total species number and to canopy cover in the ground stratum (0-0.6 m height) was evaluated in 279 plots. Visually evident anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., artificial regeneration, logging, prescribed burning, and grazing by livestock), if any, were recorded on each plot. In each of the seven regions we quantified (1) the percentage of the number of species and total cover comprised of alien species, (2) the difference in these percentages for disturbed and undisturbed plots, and (3) the origin or native range for the alien species. The percentage of alien species ranged from approximately 4.5% (Colorado) to approximately 13.2% (California). The percentage of alien species cover ranged from approximately 1.5% in Colorado to 25% in California. In five regions, species introduced from temperate Eurasia comprised the largest proportion of alien species and cover. In the Southeast, species introduced from far eastern and subtropical Asia dominated the alien flora. In the Mid-Atlantic, the majority of alien species was Eurasian and the majority of alien species cover consisted of far eastern and subtropical Asian species.The proportion of plots in which at least one alien species was recorded was significantly higher in disturbed than undisturbed plots in the Southeast and marginally significantly higher (p = 0.053) in the Northeast. These results are consistent with other published studies that indicate that anthropogenic disturbance affects the structure and composition of both the ground stratum and upper canopy of forest habitats. In other regions, however, no significant differences were found. © 1998 Kluwer Academic Pulishers. Printed in the Netherlands. Abstract reproduced with kind permission of Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Online Link(s):
Stapanian, M. A., S. D. Sundberg, G. A. Baumgardner, and A. Liston. 1998. Alien plant species composition and associations with anthropogenic disturbance in North American forests. Plant Ecology, v. 139, no. 1, p. 49-62.