A global meta-analysis of the impacts of exotic plant species invasion on plant diversity and soil properties.
Plant diversity and biogeochemical cycles are rapidly changing in response to exotic plant species invasion. However, there are conflicting conclusions regarding the quantification of such changes in the soil properties and plant diversity. Moreover, the relationships between soil properties and plant diversity are unclear. Here, a global meta-analysis was conducted on the impact of exotic species invasion on soil physicochemistry, microbial activity, and plant diversity using data from 123 published reports and 332 samples. Exotic species invasion significantly enhanced the soil pH, soil microbial activity, and soil nutrient content. The impact was more substantial for grass than for shrub and tree. Exotic species invasion did not significantly affect soil texture, but significantly reduced the plant diversity, richness, and evenness by 36.97%, 64.72%, and 47.21%, respectively. Soil pH, soil organic carbon, and total nitrogen were significantly correlated with plant diversity reduction. The response ratio of plant richness and evenness gradually increased with precipitation. However, the response ratio of phosphatase, microbial biomass nitrogen, microbial biomass phosphorus, total nitrogen, and soil moisture gradually decreased with precipitation. Overall, exotic species invasion significantly increased the soil nutrient content and soil microbial activity, but significantly decreased plant diversity. These effects were influenced by exotic species types and precipitation.