Logging and edaphic factors in the invasion of an Asian woody vine in a mesic North American forest

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Biological Invasions


Factors contributing to an invasion of the Asian woody vine Celastrus orbiculatus in a mesic forested Massachusetts (USA) sanctuary were investigated. Planting germinated C. orbiculatus seeds in the field revealed that, although they tolerate a wide range of conditions, seedlings grow largest in moist circumneutral soil under high irradiance. A study of naturally occurring vines in a logged forest suggested that C. orbiculatus invaded two years after harvest, and invasion may have been triggered by logging disturbance. Vine stems were more abundant on former logging roads than in surrounding selectively logged areas. Former logging roads had a significantly higher soil pH than surrounding areas and, due to the direction of construction, a significantly more southerly aspect. Fourteen years after harvest, logging roads continued to provide this aggressive exotic with superior habitat for establishment and growth.