Rapid in-stream decomposition of leaves of common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), an invasive tree species

Jason G. Freund, Eric Thobaben, Nicholas Barkowski, Courtney Reijo
  • Journal of Freshwater Ecology, September 2013, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/02705060.2013.770802

In-stream decomposition of common buckthorn

What is it about?

This paper examined the iin-stream decomposition rates of common buckthorn - an invasive species - and American elm and green ash - plants native to the study area. We found that buckthorn decomposes more quickly than the native species meaning that energy from leaf fall, generally the most important source of energy to headwater streams, is utilized quickly within the stream and is transported downstream earlier than energy from the native leaf species.

Why is it important?

This paper shows the impacts of a terrestrial invasive species on an aquatic system. Buckthorn is one of the most important terrestrial invasive species in much of North America. Buckthorn has been shown to greatly affect terrestrial habitats. This paper demonstrates that it may have negative impacts on aquatic habitats as well. Additionally, emerald ash borers, another invasive species, will arrive in the area making buckthorn leaves a larger proportion of the leaves in the stream.

The following have contributed to this page: Jason Freund