Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Effects of modifying soil microbes on restoring vegetation degraded by an invasive plant Crofton weed (Ageratina adenophora).

Abstract

Invasive plants commonly change soil microbial communities in their introduced range, promoting their own growth while inhibiting the growth of native species. This effect can persist even after invasive plants are removed, thereby hindering restoration of disturbed ecosystems. Our aim was to explore how modifying the altered soil microbe community affected the restoration of an area degraded by Ageratina adenophora (Crofton weed), one of the most notorious invasive plants in China. A three-year experiment was performed in the wild. After the removal of A. adenophora, the three antimicrobial drugs Chlorothalonil (BJQ), Carbendazim (DJL), and Streptomycin (LMS) were applied to inhibit the activity of soil microbes. The reestablishment of A. adenophora and recovery of other plant species were investigated, and soil characteristics were evaluated. All three drugs significantly decreased the total biomass of reestablished A. adenophora: relative to the control, BJQ decreased A. adenophora biomass by 46.73%, DJL by 70.69%, and LMS by 96.95%. Further, DJL and LMS significantly increased plant community diversity, as well as the biomass of other plant species. Drug treatment also significantly changed soil fertility and decreased soil enzyme activity. Our data indicated that inhibiting the activity of soil microbes is beneficial for both eradication and replacement of A. adenophora.