Date of this Version
Dauer JT, Jongejans E (2013) Elucidating the Population Dynamics of Japanese Knotweed Using Integral Projection Models. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75181. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075181
Plant demographic studies coupled with population modeling are crucial components of invasive plant management because they inform managers when in a plant’s life cycle it is most susceptible to control efforts. Providing land managers with appropriate data can be especially challenging when there is limited data on potentially important transitions that occur belowground. For 2 years, we monitored 4 clonal Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) infestations for emergence, survival, shoot height until leaf senescence, dry shoot biomass after senescence, and rhizome connections for 424 shoots. We developed an integral projection model using both final autumn shoot height and shoot biomass as predictors of survival between years, growth from year to year, and number of rhizomes produced by a shoot (fecundity). Numbers of new shoots within an infestation (population growth rate λ) were projected to increase 13-233% in a year, with the greatest increase at the most frequently disturbed site. Elasticity analysis revealed population growth at 3 of the 4 sites was primarily due to ramet survival between years and to yearto- year growth in shoot height and shoot biomass. Population growth at the fourth site, the most disturbed, was due to the large production of new rhizomes and associated shoots. In contrast to previous studies, our excavation revealed that most of the shoots were not interconnected, suggesting rhizome production may be limited by the size or age of the plants, resource availability, disturbance frequency, or other factors. Future integration of plant population models with more data on belowground growth structures will clarify the critical stages in Japanese knotweed life cycle and support land managers in their management decisions.