Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Community structure and soil mineral concentration in relation to plant invasion in a subtropical urban and rural ecotone.

Abstract

Alien species invasion affects local community biodiversity and stability considerably, and ecosystem services and functions will accordingly be dramatically changed. Many studies have reported a correlation between invasibility and the chemical nature of soil, but the influences of understory plant community structure and soil trace element concentrations on invasibility have not been fully explored. Landscape heterogeneity in the urban and rural ecotone may alter the invasion process, and assessing the invasibility of different types of native forests may lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms by which native species resist invasion. We compared the composition, structure, diversity and stability of the understory community in abandoned fallows, severely invaded by Mikania micrantha and Borreria latifolia, and adjacent natural and planted forests in the urban and rural ecotone of Eastern Guangzhou, China. Additionally, we quantified mineral element concentrations in the topsoil (0-25 cm) most influenced by the root system of understory communities in the forest stand types. Abandoned fallows had the highest concentrations of available ferrum (Fe) and available boron (B) and the lowest concentration of total mercury (Hg) Hg among the three stand types. In contrast to various species diversity indices, the understory structure of the three stands better explained differences in community invasibility. Average understory cover significantly differed among the three stand types, and those types with the greatest number of stems in height and cover classes 1 and 2 differed the most, indicating that seedling establishment may deter invasion to a certain extent. CCA (canonical correspondence analysis) results better reflected the distribution range of each stand type and its relationship with environmental factors, and available Fe, available B, exchangeable calcium (Ca), exchangeable magnesium (Mg), cover, available copper (Cu) and total Hg, were strongly related the distribution of native and exotic understory species. Invasion weakened community stability. The stability index changed consistently with the species diversity index, and abandoned fallows understory community stability was lower than the other stand types. According to our results, both soil mineral element concentrations and community structure are related to alien species invasion. Against the backdrop of urbanization and industrialization, this information will provide forest management and planning departments with certain reference points for forest protection and invasive plant management.