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Soil seed bank and growth rates of an invasive species, Piper aduncum, in the lowlands of Papua New Guinea

  • Howard M. Rogers (a1) (a2) and Alfred E. Hartemink (a1)

Abstract

Secondary fallow vegetation in parts of the Papua New Guinea lowlands is dominated by the shrub Piper aduncum L. that originates from South America. Here we report on its seed bank, growth rate and biomass accumulation. P. aduncum accounted for 69 % (408 m−2) of the seed bank in the forest and 53 % (1559 m−2) of the seed bank under fallow. About 90 % of the tree seed bank at the fallow site was dominated by P. aduncum whereas this was 78 % in the forest soil. Two-year-old P. aduncum had grown to 4.5 m height and had accumulated 48 Mg dry matter (DM) per ha of above ground biomass. The rate of biomass accumulation increased from 10 Mg DM ha−1 y−1 in the first year to 40 Mg DM ha−1 y−1 in the second year when 76 % of the biomass consisted of mainstems. The highest growth rate of 134 kg DM ha−1 d−1 occurred when P. aduncum was 17-mo-old. Aggressive invasion and monospecific stands of P. aduncum are explained by its dominance in the seed bank, fast growth, and high rates of biomass accumulation. P. aduncum is a major competitor to indigenous tree species and presents a threat to Papua New Guinea's rich biodiversity.

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Corresponding author

To whom correspondence should be addressed, at International Soil Reference and Information Centre, PO Box 353, 6700 AJ Wageningen, The Netherlands. Email: hartemink@isric.nl

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Soil seed bank and growth rates of an invasive species, Piper aduncum, in the lowlands of Papua New Guinea

  • Howard M. Rogers (a1) (a2) and Alfred E. Hartemink (a1)

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