ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0555.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: alternative states; secondary succession; tropical dry forest; Pteridium aquilinum
Online: 24 October 2018 (07:48:46 CEST)
Understanding the role of invasive species in ecosystem functioning represents one of the main challenges in ecology. Pteridium aquilinum is a successful cosmopolitan invasive species with negative effects on the ecological mechanisms that allow secondary succession. In this study we evaluated whether P. aquilinum favours the establishment of alternative states, as well as the effect of recovery strategies on the secondary succession. A random stratified sampling was established with three treatments, each one with at least 50 year of fern invasion and with variations on the periodicity of fires and cuttings (chapeos) vs one control without fern bracken We determined the species richness and composition, as well as the relative importance value (IVI) in each treatment. We found that P. aquilinum decreases the action of the mechanisms that allow secondary succession, particularly facilitation. The recovery strategies consist in monthly cuttings and control fires allow to recover the secondary succession and eventually, the regeneration of areas invaded by P. aquilinum. Our study has relevant implications on the ecology of alternative state, and in practical strategies to maintain tropical forests, as well as for the maintenance of environmental services and sustainability.