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Quantifying the recent expansion of native invasive rush species in a UK upland environment

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Quantifying the recent expansion of native invasive rush species in a UK upland environment. / Ashby, Mark; Whyatt, Duncan; Rogers, Karen; Marrs, Robert H.; Stevens, Carly.

In: Annals of Applied Biology, Vol. 177, No. 2, 23.08.2020, p. 243-255.

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Ashby, Mark ; Whyatt, Duncan ; Rogers, Karen ; Marrs, Robert H. ; Stevens, Carly. / Quantifying the recent expansion of native invasive rush species in a UK upland environment. In: Annals of Applied Biology. 2020 ; Vol. 177, No. 2. pp. 243-255.

Bibtex

@article{64c542eefb20427fa34afeb98b658fdc,
title = "Quantifying the recent expansion of native invasive rush species in a UK upland environment",
abstract = "Rushes, such as soft rush (Juncus effusus L.), hard rush (Juncus inflexus L.) and compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus L.) have become problem species within upland grasslands across the UK and the coastal grasslands of western Norway. Indeed, being largely unpalatable to livestock and having a vigorous reproductive ecology means that they can rapidly come to dominate swards. However, rush dominance results in a reduction in grassland biodiversity and farm productivity. Anecdotal evidence from the UK suggests that rush cover within marginal upland grasslands has increased considerably in recent decades. Yet, there is currently no published evidence to support this observation. Here, we use recent and historical Google Earth imagery to measure changes in rush frequency over a 13-year period within four survey years: 2005, 2009, 2015 and 2018. During each survey year, we quantified rush presence or absence using a series of quadrats located within 300 upland grassland plots in the West Pennine Moors, UK. Data were analysed in two stages, first, by calculating mean rush frequencies per sample year using all the available plot-year combinations (the full dataset), and second by examining 25 differences in rush frequency using only the plots for which rush frequency data were available in every sample year (the continuous dataset). The full dataset indicated that rush frequency has increased by 82% between 2005 and 2018. Similarly, the continuous dataset suggested that rush frequency has increased by 174% over the same period, with the increases in frequency being statistically significant (P<0.05) between 2005-2018 and 2009-2018. We discuss the potential drivers of rush expansion in the West Pennine Moors, the ecological and agronomic implications of grassland rush infestations, and priorities for future research.",
keywords = "Google Imagery, Habitat Change, Hill Farming, Juncus spp., Native invasive species, Upland breeding birds, Upland habitats, Upland land management",
author = "Mark Ashby and Duncan Whyatt and Karen Rogers and Marrs, {Robert H.} and Carly Stevens",
year = "2020",
month = aug,
day = "23",
doi = "10.1111/aab.12602",
language = "English",
volume = "177",
pages = "243--255",
journal = "Annals of Applied Biology",
issn = "0003-4746",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Quantifying the recent expansion of native invasive rush species in a UK upland environment

AU - Ashby, Mark

AU - Whyatt, Duncan

AU - Rogers, Karen

AU - Marrs, Robert H.

AU - Stevens, Carly

PY - 2020/8/23

Y1 - 2020/8/23

N2 - Rushes, such as soft rush (Juncus effusus L.), hard rush (Juncus inflexus L.) and compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus L.) have become problem species within upland grasslands across the UK and the coastal grasslands of western Norway. Indeed, being largely unpalatable to livestock and having a vigorous reproductive ecology means that they can rapidly come to dominate swards. However, rush dominance results in a reduction in grassland biodiversity and farm productivity. Anecdotal evidence from the UK suggests that rush cover within marginal upland grasslands has increased considerably in recent decades. Yet, there is currently no published evidence to support this observation. Here, we use recent and historical Google Earth imagery to measure changes in rush frequency over a 13-year period within four survey years: 2005, 2009, 2015 and 2018. During each survey year, we quantified rush presence or absence using a series of quadrats located within 300 upland grassland plots in the West Pennine Moors, UK. Data were analysed in two stages, first, by calculating mean rush frequencies per sample year using all the available plot-year combinations (the full dataset), and second by examining 25 differences in rush frequency using only the plots for which rush frequency data were available in every sample year (the continuous dataset). The full dataset indicated that rush frequency has increased by 82% between 2005 and 2018. Similarly, the continuous dataset suggested that rush frequency has increased by 174% over the same period, with the increases in frequency being statistically significant (P<0.05) between 2005-2018 and 2009-2018. We discuss the potential drivers of rush expansion in the West Pennine Moors, the ecological and agronomic implications of grassland rush infestations, and priorities for future research.

AB - Rushes, such as soft rush (Juncus effusus L.), hard rush (Juncus inflexus L.) and compact rush (Juncus conglomeratus L.) have become problem species within upland grasslands across the UK and the coastal grasslands of western Norway. Indeed, being largely unpalatable to livestock and having a vigorous reproductive ecology means that they can rapidly come to dominate swards. However, rush dominance results in a reduction in grassland biodiversity and farm productivity. Anecdotal evidence from the UK suggests that rush cover within marginal upland grasslands has increased considerably in recent decades. Yet, there is currently no published evidence to support this observation. Here, we use recent and historical Google Earth imagery to measure changes in rush frequency over a 13-year period within four survey years: 2005, 2009, 2015 and 2018. During each survey year, we quantified rush presence or absence using a series of quadrats located within 300 upland grassland plots in the West Pennine Moors, UK. Data were analysed in two stages, first, by calculating mean rush frequencies per sample year using all the available plot-year combinations (the full dataset), and second by examining 25 differences in rush frequency using only the plots for which rush frequency data were available in every sample year (the continuous dataset). The full dataset indicated that rush frequency has increased by 82% between 2005 and 2018. Similarly, the continuous dataset suggested that rush frequency has increased by 174% over the same period, with the increases in frequency being statistically significant (P<0.05) between 2005-2018 and 2009-2018. We discuss the potential drivers of rush expansion in the West Pennine Moors, the ecological and agronomic implications of grassland rush infestations, and priorities for future research.

KW - Google Imagery

KW - Habitat Change

KW - Hill Farming

KW - Juncus spp.

KW - Native invasive species

KW - Upland breeding birds

KW - Upland habitats

KW - Upland land management

U2 - 10.1111/aab.12602

DO - 10.1111/aab.12602

M3 - Journal article

VL - 177

SP - 243

EP - 255

JO - Annals of Applied Biology

JF - Annals of Applied Biology

SN - 0003-4746

IS - 2

ER -