Evidence of sedimentation inequality along riparian areas colonised by Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam)

Philip Greenwood, Alan Gange, Nikolaus Kuhn

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Soil loss from riparian areas supporting the annual invasive weed, Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam), was measured and statistically compared to equivalent values recorded at nearby, topographically-similar areas supporting perennial vegetation over a cumulative seven-year period, along sections of two separate river systems; one in Switzerland, and one in the UK. Soil loss from colonised locations was significantly greater than from reference locations in four of the seven measurement periods. Despite contrasting results, standard deviations, based on soil losses and gains were predominantly higher for colonised areas at both rivers over most monitoring periods. These findings indicated that areas colonised by Himalayan balsam experience higher sediment flux in comparison with areas free of invasion. Here, we test those original interpretations by re-interrogating the datasets using a more robust analysis of inequality. Nine datasets were tested, five of which (i.e. 56%) showed that sediment flux was significantly greater at Himalayan balsam-invaded areas than at reference areas. Three datasets showed no significant difference in sediment flux between invaded or reference areas (33%), and one (11%) showed significantly higher sediment flux at reference areas. Most results uphold our original interpretations and support our hypothesis that hydrochory probably dictates where colonisation initially occurs, by depositing Himalayan balsam seeds in slack or depressional areas along river margins. Once Himalayan balsam becomes established and sufficient perennial vegetation is displaced, seasonal die-off and depleted vegetation cover may increase the risk that some areas will experience significantly higher sediment flux.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalWeed Research
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Himalayan balsam-invaded areas
  • erosion
  • deposition
  • sediment flux
  • sedimentation inequality
  • inequality analysis
  • Gini coefficient

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