Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Impact of Parthenium hysterophorus L. invasion on soil nitrogen dynamics of grassland vegetation of Indo-Gangetic plains, India.

Abstract

The noxious plant species Parthenium hysterophorus L. has become a major concern for the conservation of many natural and managed areas. The species is known for its various adverse effects on the invaded ecosystems, particularly in terms of biodiversity loss. Currently, P. hysterophorus is a leading invasive species widespread in the grasslands of productive and diversity rich Indo-Gangetic plains of India and is responsible for various changes in the ecosystem. The present study addresses the changes that P. hysterophorus can bring in the vegetation structure (species richness, species evenness, and species composition) of the grasslands of Indo-Gangetic plain. To broaden our understanding of the invasion success and facilitated expansion, we also focus on the variability of soil nitrogen pool and processes as a consequence of invasion. We report that in the presence of P. hysterophorus, the species diversity, evenness, composition and richness were altered, affecting many native and non-native flora of the ecosystem. The effect was more prominent during the second and third year of the study with more increase in the invasion outcomes. Significant changes in soil nitrogen (N) dynamics, particularly, increased available (N), N-mineralization and microbial biomass N have been found in the invaded plots along with changes in vegetation of the grassland community. Overall, the result suggested that the invasive species, P. hysterophorus, modifies the soil and this modification is correlated with changes in vegetation structure and this situation is likely to further facilitate severe alterations in the ecosystem and could favor encroachment of other non-native species in the area.