Effects of the invasive plant Xanthium strumarium on diversity of native plant species: a competitive analysis approach in north and northeast China.
Xanthium strumarium is native to North America and now has become one of the invasive alien species (IAS) in China. In order to detect the effects of the invader on biodiversity and evaluate its suitable habitats and ecological distribution, we investigated the abundance, relative abundance, diversity indices, and the number of the invasive and native plants in paired invaded and non-invaded quadrats in four locations in North and Northeast China. We also analyzed the effects of monthly mean maximum and minimum temperatures, relative humidity (%), and precipitations (mm). Strong positive significant (P < 0.01) correlation and maximum interspecific competition (41%) were found in Huailai between invaded and non-invaded quadrats. Shannon's Diversity Index showed that non-invaded plots had significantly (P < 0.05) more diversified species than invaded ones. The significant (P < 0.05) Margalef's Richness Index was found in Huailai and Zhangjiakou in non-invaded recorded heterogeneous nature of plant communities. Similarly, significant (P < 0.05) species richness found in Huailai and Zhangjiakou in non-invaded quadrats compared to invaded ones. Maximum evenness of Setaria feberi (0.47, 0.37), Seteria viridis (0.43) found in Fushun and Zhangjiakou recorded more stable in a community compared to other localities. Evenness showed positive relationship of Shannon Entropy within different plant species. The higher dissimilarity in plant communities found in Huailai (87.06%) followed by Yangyuan (44.43%), Zhangjiakou (40.13%) and Fushun (29.02%). The significant (P < 0.01) value of global statistics R (0.943/94.3%) showed high species diversity recorded in Huailai followed by Zhangjiakou recorded by non-metric multidimensional scaling and analysis of similarity between invaded and non-invaded plots. At the end it was concluded that the diversity indices reduced significantly (P < 0.05) in invaded quadrats indicated that native plant species become less diverse due to X. strumarium invasion. The degrees of X. strumarium invasion affected on species richness resulted to reduce diversity indices significantly in invaded quadrats.