Effect of invasive species Impatiens parviflora on soil microbial indices in the protected areas in Slovakia.
Biological invasions are one of the main threats to natural ecosystems and the impact of invasive plant species on native species, communities, ecosystems and soil biota has been widely recognized over the last decades. Costs of invasive species are estimated to range from millions to billions of euros annually and the success of invasive species has been attributed to their biological and ecological trails. Our study aimed to assess the effect of invasive plant species Impatiens parviflora on selected soil microbial indices and physicochemical characteristics. The research was carried out during a vegetation season on 3 protected areas of Norths-Eastern Slovakia in 2015. Soil reaction, soil organic carbon, bulk density, soil porosity and soil moisture were selected to determine soil physicochemical properties. As the microbial indices, that mainly indicate soil microbial activity, we selected soil microbial respiration and soil enzymatic activity (urease, acid and alkaline phosphatases). The results showed that I. parviflora prefers acidic and non-compacted soil conditions. The results also suggested that biology of the invasive plants had the high impact on soil ecosystem and soil enzyme activity played an important role in nutrient cycling in the ecosystems, and thus could be considered as biological indicator of soil health and environmental changes.