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Restoring Species Richness and Diversity in a Russian Knapweed (Acroptilon repens)–infested Riparian Plant Community Using Herbicides

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Roger L. Sheley*
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Burns, OR 97720
Stephen M. Laufenberg
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717
James S. Jacobs
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717
John Borkowski
Mathematical Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717
Corresponding author's E-mail:


Species richness and diversity are important indicators of ecosystem function and may be related to plant community resistance to invasion by nonindigenous species. Our specific objective was to determine the influence of clopyralid plus 2,4-D, glyphosate, and fosamine, at different application rates and timings, on richness and diversity of total species, total native species, and total nonnative species within a Russian knapweed–infested plant community. Twenty-eight treatments (3 herbicides by 3 rates by 3 application timings, and an untreated control) were applied to two sites located along the Missouri River riparian corridor in Montana. Clopyralid plus 2,4-D, glyphosate, and fosamine were applied in June (spring rosette stage of Russian knapweed), July (bud to bloom stage of Russian knapweed), and August (flowering stage of Russian knapweed). Herbicide rates were clopyralid plus 2,4-D at 0.08 (clopyralid) + 0.42 (2,4-D), 0.13 + 0.67, and 0.18 + 0.92 kg ai ha−1; glyphosate at 0.6, 1.2, and 1.8 kg ai ha−1; fosamine at 3.6, 7.2, and 10.8 kg ai ha−1. Density of each species was recorded during June and August of 2001 and 2002. Species richness and Simpson's Reciprocal Index (1/D) were calculated. By August 2002, only the glyphosate treatment (4.6 species m−2) yielded greater total richness over that of the control (3.5 species m−2). At that time, diversity after applying clopyralid plus 2,4-D remained similar to that of the control (1.4), but glyphosate (2.3) and fosamine (2.0) increased total species diversity. Nonnative grasses and forbs accounted for the increases in richness and diversity. Glyphosate may be appropriate for enhancing ecosystem function and possibly niche occupation to preempt reinvasion by Russian knapweed, but restoring native species seems unlikely using any of these herbicides alone.

Weed Biology and Ecology
Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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