Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version





Corridors such as roads and trails can facilitate invasions by non-native plant species. The open, disturbed habitat associated with corridors provides favorable growing conditions for many non-native plant species. Bike trails are a corridor system common to many urban areas that have not been studied for their potential role in plant invasions. We sampled five linear segments of urban forest along bike trails in Lincoln, Nebraska to assess the invasion of woody non-native species relative to corridors and to assess the composition of these urban forests. The most abundant plant species were generally native species, but five non-native species were also present: white mulberry (Morus alba), common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) and elm (Ulmus spp.). The distribution of two of the woody species sampled, common buckthorn and honeysuckle, significantly decreased with increasing distance from a source patch of vegetation (P = 0.031 and 0.030). These linear habitats are being invaded by non-native tree and shrub species, which may change the structure of these urban forest corridors. If nonnative woody plant species become abundant in the future, they may homogenize the plant community and reduce native biodiversity in these areas.