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Persistence of bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypifolia L.) soil seed banks

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Bebawi, F. F., Campbell, S. D. and Mayer, R. J. (2012) Persistence of bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypifolia L.) soil seed banks. The Rangeland Journal, 34 (4). pp. 429-438. ISSN 1036-9872

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ12051


Bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypifolia L.) is an invasive shrub that adversely impacts agricultural and natural systems of northern Australia. While several techniques are available to control bellyache bush, depletion of soil seed banks is central to its management. A 10-year study determined the persistence of intact and ant-discarded bellyache bush seeds buried in shade cloth packets at six depths (ranging from 0 to 40 cm) under both natural rainfall and rainfall-excluded conditions. A second study monitored changes in seedling emergence over time, to provide an indication of the natural rate of seed bank depletion at two sites (rocky and heavy clay) following the physical removal of all bellyache bush plants. Persistence of seed in the burial trial varied depending on seed type, rainfall conditions and burial depth. No viable seeds of bellyache bush remained after 72 months irrespective of seed type under natural rainfall conditions. When rainfall was excluded seeds persisted for much longer, with a small portion (0.4%) of ant-discarded seeds still viable after 120 months. Seed persistence was prolonged (>96 months to decline to <1% viability) at all burial depths under rainfall-excluded conditions. In contrast, under natural rainfall, surface located seeds took twice as long (70 months) to decline to 1% viability compared with buried seeds (35 months). No seedling emergence was observed after 58 months and 36 months at the rocky and heavy clay soil sites, respectively. These results suggest that the required duration of control programs on bellyache bush may vary due to the effect of biotic and abiotic factors on persistence of soil seed banks.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants
Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Weed ecology
Plant pests and diseases
Live Archive:04 Dec 2017 04:14
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:51

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