A case study of soil food web components affected by Fallopia japonica (Polygonaceae) in three natural habitats in Central Europe.
This study determined the effect of the invasive plant Fallopia japonica on soil physical properties, microbial respiration, microbial biomass carbon content, enzymatic activities, and soil nematode communities. We established in total 30 plots in three natural habitats (forest, grassland, wetland) that were either uninvaded or mostly monospecifically invaded by F. japonica. The soil physical and microbial properties differed among the investigated plots, but the differences were observed to be non-significant between the invaded and the uninvaded plots. Non-metric multidimensional scaling based on nematode species diversity indicated that the total number of identified nematode species and their abundance were higher in the uninvaded compare to the invaded plots. Negative effect of F. japonica on omnivores, plant parasites, and root-fungal feeder nematodes was confirmed by their lower abundance in the invaded compared to the uninvaded plots. In the invaded plots, we also confirmed lower Maturity and Channel index, but higher Enrichment index. Our results thus indicated that the invasive plant F. japonica could affect nematode communities, more than physical or microbial properties, regardless of habitat.