Cover JulySubmitted by editor on 12 July 2021.Get the paper!
This month's cover is from an Ignite paper where they test the hypothesis that plant facilitation can both accelerate the invasion process and amplify the negative effects of an invader on the native community. Read the full paper by Lortie et al. (2021): Facilitation promotes plant invasions and indirect negative interactions!
Numerous pressures influence the ecological capacity and health of drylands globally. Shrubs are often a critical component of these systems and can function positively as foundation species through facilitation of other species. Nonetheless, limited attention has been paid to the potential negative and indirect effects of shrubs. Here, we tested the hypothesis that plant facilitation can both accelerate the invasion process and amplify the negative effects of an invader on the native community. The invasive species Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens capitalized on facilitation by resident native shrub species. This in turn further degraded California mixed grasslands by negatively impacting other annual protégé plant species in these specific microhabitats. Indirect shrub-mediated interactions were thus a critical component of the ecological community assembly processes, and this suggests that we need to move beyond pairwise interactions to more rapidly advance grassland management and restoration theory.
Photo by A. Filazzola