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Ecosystems are under increasing stress from environmental change, including invasion by non-native species that can disrupt ecological processes and functions. Chinese tallow [Triadica sebifera (L.) Small] is a highly invasive tree species in southeastern US forests, prairies, and wetlands, and effectively managing this invasive species is a significant challenge for scientists and land managers. In this review, we synthesize the literature on invasion ecology and management of Chinese tallow. Our review suggests that the invaded range of Chinese tallow is currently limited by dispersal in many areas and by low temperatures and low soil moisture, and by high soil salinity and frequent flooding in others, but these barriers may be overcome by increased dispersal, phenotypic plasticity, and/or rapid evolution. Invasions by Chinese tallow are facilitated by both the invasiveness of the species and the invasibility of the recipient communities. Invasiveness of Chinese tallow has been attributed to fast growth, high fecundity, a persistent seed bank, aggressive resprouting, abiotic stress tolerance, and the ability to transform fire maintained ecosystems. Some of these traits may be enhanced in invasive populations. Anthropogenic and natural disturbances, lack of herbivore pressure, and facilitation by soil microbes enhance the intensity of Chinese tallow invasions. Biological control of Chinese tallow is being developed. Treatments such as herbicides, prescribed fire, and mechanical control can effectively control Chinese tallow at the local scale. A combination of these treatments improves results. However, a proactive management approach would simultaneously achieve invasion control and promote subsequent ecological restoration, especially in the context of legacy effects, secondary invasions, and/or variable ecosystem responses to different control treatments. Future research should clarify the roles of species invasiveness and community invasibility, increase our understanding of the effects of Chinese tallow in invaded communities, and develop viable management regimes that are effective in both controlling or reducing the probability of Chinese tallow invasion and restoring desired native communities.


Pile, Lauren S.; Wang, G. Geoff; Stovall, Jeremy P.; Siemann, Evan; Wheeler, Gregory S.; Gabler, Christopher A. 2017. Mechanisms of Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) invasion and their management implications – A review. Forest Ecology and Management. 404: 1-13.




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