Recovery and Resistance: Restoring the wetland plant community after invasive reed control
Presenter: Dr. Rebecca Rooney, University of Waterloo
For established invasions, like European common reed, reinvasion is a persistent issue. Reliance on repeated herbicide applications to keep invasive plants from becoming dominant again can be expensive and present a real risk to human and environmental health. It can also erode support for management as dominance by the invasive species begins to seem inevitable. We need ecologically sound strategies for supporting native plant community recovery and resisting reinvasion to save precious conservation and restoration resources and to safeguard public and political goodwill. Supporting native plant communities in recovery from invasion through supplementing the seedbank with a blend of native plants whose functional traits combine to resist reinvasion is an experimental strategy worth putting into practice. In pilot work, we found that seeding meadow marsh with native plants after herbicide-based common reed suppression reduced the biomass of non-native plants and increased the floristic quality of recovering plant communities. However, challenges remain in scaling up this approach. In this knowledge exchange session, we will share the lessons we learned from our successes and future challenges that must be addressed to apply this reseeding approach more broadly to maximize the resistance of wetland plant communities to invasive species.