Ulex europaeus changes plant community structure in subtropical forest-grasslands in southern Brazil
Ulex europaeus (Fabaceae) is listed as one of the world’s worst invasive species by the Invasive Species Specialist Group. Native to Europe, the species has invaded many regions of the world and the Brazilian Campos (Southern Brazil) is one such region. Land usage significantly influences the occurrence of U. europaeus in the Brazilian Campos, where vulnerability to invasion was shown to be highest in heavily grazed grasslands. In such habitats, percentage cover can reach over 50 %. Intact natural forests seem to be unsuitable habitats for U. europaeus, however, the species invades tree plantations. In undisturbed habitats, such as ungrazed natural grasslands, U. europaeus cover is variable. In the Brazilian Campos, U. europaeus can significantly alter the community structure and composition of native species. Assemblages in the understory of U. europaeus canopies were comparatively species poor and more homogenous compared to uninfested nearby areas.
Cordero RL, Torchelsen FP, Overbeck GE, Anand M (2016) Invasive gorse (Ulex europaeus, Fabaceae) changes plant community structure in subtropical forest-grassland mosaics of southern Brazil. Biological Invasions 18, 1629-1643.