Siemann and Rogers (2003) state that, "T. sebifera aggressively displaces native plants and forms monospecific stands within decades of its appearance in a prairie (Bruce et al. 1997). In the Gulf Coast, much coastal prairie has been converted to T. sebifera woodland thickets (Bruce et al. 1997). In prairie habitats T. sebifera competes with herbaceous species. Ideally, the native and alien species would be congeners, but T. sebifera is the only member of its genus in the Gulf Coast of Texas. Lack of herbivory may be responsible for T. sebifera's unusually high performance and invasiveness." The authors claim that typically native seedlings are browsed by vertebrates more frequently than T. sebifera seedlings.
Bogler (2000) states that, "T. sebifera is able to alter nutrient cycles. It may enhance productivity (or encourage eutrophication) in ecosystems by the addition of nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorous) from the rapid decay of its leaves (Cameron and Spencer 1989). These leaves produce tannins, but it is unclear if T. sebifera produces other allelopathic compounds that may interfere with the germination of native North American species (Conway, 1997). Further, the presence of T. sebifera seems to favour non-native arthropods (Miller and Cameron, 1983) that may also negatively impact the native ecosystem."
Renne et al. (2002) state that, "Heavy T. sebifera use by some species may adversely affect others". As an example the authors observe that European starling ( Sturnus vulgaris ) populations, which are limited by the availability of food in winter, are likely to increase in response to T. sebifera seed availability. Starlings which compete with cavity-nesting birds for nest sites may reduce red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus see in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) and red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) populations and as nest site availability limits the population growth of cavity-nesting birds, further increases in T. sebifera numbers could negatively affect this guild of birds by providing abundant food for their competitors.
Rogers and Siemann (2004) observe that, T. sebifera loses very small amounts of leaf area to herbivory in the USA and its advantage over native plants is assumed to be partially due to a low pest load. T. sebifera has evolved a reduction in defense allocation and an increase in allocation to growth and/or reproduction in response to the absence of herbivores (Siemann & Rogers 2001, 2003).
Jubinsky and Anderson (1996) state that, "T. sebifera is shade-, sun-, drought-, flood-, freeze, and salt-tolerant, as shown in recent experiments. These and other characters, such as its adaptability to a wide range of soils and its ease of dispersal via birds, water, and humans, suggest that this introduced species has a high risk potential as an invasive plant outside of cultivation." Rodgers and Parker (2003) state that, "T. sebifera can tolerate shade and will grow through existing canopies (Jones & McLeod, 1989)." Brooks et al. (2004) states that, "T. sebifera can overtop and suppress the growth of understory coastal prairie species in North America, reducing the continuity of highly flammable surface fuels and thus the frequency of fire (Grace, 1998 )."