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Experimental evidence for a delayed response of the above-ground vegetation and the seed bank to the invasion of an annual exotic plant in deciduous forests

Rusterholz, Hans-Peter and Küng, Jonas and Baur, Bruno. (2017) Experimental evidence for a delayed response of the above-ground vegetation and the seed bank to the invasion of an annual exotic plant in deciduous forests. Basic and Applied Ecology, 20. pp. 19-30.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/58973/

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Abstract

Invasions by alien plants significantly affect native biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We conducted a 5-year field experiment to investigate potential effects of the annual invasive plant Impatiens glandulifera on both the native above-ground vegetation and the soil seed bank in a deciduous forest in Switzerland. Eight years after the establishment of I. glandulifera, we set up plots in patches invaded by the alien plant, in plots from which the invasive plant had been manually removed and in plots which were not yet colonized by the invasive plant. We examined plant species richness, diversity and plant species composition in the above-ground vegetation and soil seed bank in all plots one year and five years after the initiation of the experiment. The 36 plots (3 plot types × 6 replicates × 2 sites) were equally distributed over two forest sites. Neither the native above-ground vegetation nor the soil seed bank was influenced by the presence of I. glandulifera one year after the start of the field experiment. After five years, however, plant species richness of both the above-ground vegetation and the soil seed bank was reduced by 25% and 30%, respectively, in plots invaded by the alien plant compared to plots from which I. glandulifera had been removed or uninvaded plots. Furthermore, plots invaded by the alien plant had a lower total seedling density (reduction by 60%) and an altered plant species composition in the soil seed bank compared to control plots. Our field experiment indicates that negative effects of the annual invasive plant on the native above-ground vegetation and soil seed bank of deciduous forests become visible with a delay of several years.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Natur- Landschafts- und Umweltschutz > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Baur, Bruno and Rusterholz, Hans-Peter and Küng, Jonas
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1439-1791
e-ISSN:1618-0089
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:18 Jun 2018 13:02
Deposited On:18 Jun 2018 13:02

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