Reference : Naturalization and impact of a horticultural species, Cotoneaster horizontalis (Rosac...
Scientific journals : Article
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Naturalization and impact of a horticultural species, Cotoneaster horizontalis (Rosaceae) in biodiversity hotspots in Belgium
Piqueray, Julien mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech > Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech >]
Mahy, Grégory [Université de Liège - ULiège > Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech > Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech >]
Vanderhoeven, Sonia [ > > ]
Belgian Journal of Botany
[en] Cotoneaster horizontalis ; Biodiversity hotspots ; Calcareous grasslands
[fr] Impact ; Naturalization
[en] Cultivation of ornamental plant species has been recognized to foster plant naturalization of exotics by counteracting environmental stochasticity and continuously providing propagules. As a preliminary attempt to describe the invasion status of C horizontalis, we gathered information on the occurrence of the species in Belgium by compiling various databases. We assessed the naturalization status of C. horizontalis in Belgian calcareous grasslands, high-value habitats recognized as biodiversity hotspots, by characterizing its occurrence, population status, preferred habitats, invaded communities, growth rate and fruiting capacity. We also assessed the impact of the species on calcareous grasslands communities and on individual species.
Cotoneaster occurred in seven of the nine investigated sites, with densities varying from 0.34 to 10 individuals/ha. In the most invaded sites, the high proportion of small individuals suggests an important ongoing colonization process, emphasized by the fact that fruiting capacities were demonstrated for 3-year-old individuals. Invaded habitats were typically Mosan Xerobromion habitats, which are priority Natura 2000 habitats. The presence of C horizontalis was associated with changes in both the structure and composition of the community by decreasing species richness and diversity, and affecting grassland specialist species. These impacts are expected to intensify over time with population age and increasing propagule pressure due to close urbanization.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Politique Scientifique Fédérale (Belgique) = Belgian Federal Science Policy

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