Inoculum origin and soil legacy can shape plant-soil feedback outcomes for tropical grassland restoration.
Restoration techniques tailored to grasslands are needed to improve the effectiveness of restoration in tropical landscapes. In this study, we investigated the joint effects of plant-soil legacies and soil inocula in native and invaded Cerrado grasslands to evaluate whether different microbial origins affect plant-soil feedbacks and the likelihood of restoration. Using two grass species, we measured aboveground biomass, and several plant traits over two growth cycles. Species responded differently to inocula and legacies. The legacy of the invasive Urochloa eminii and invaded soil inocula positively affected mycorrhizal colonization. The legacy of Diectomis fastigiata, a commonly used species in Cerrado restoration, resulted in a negative self-feedback potentially limiting its effectiveness for restoration. The success of the invasive species was in part due to its broad ecological niche and its ability to cope with a broad range of soil conditions. Our research suggests soil inocula and legacies could be used to aid restoration efforts in the tropics, allowing restoration practitioners to stimulate the growth of species targeting functional traits for a given ecosystem.