Effects of an Invasive Plant Species, Celastrus orbiculatus, on Soil Composition and Processes

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American Midland Naturalist


Celastrus orbiculatus is a non-native, invasive liana that was introduced to the United States in the 1860s and has spread rapidly throughout the Northeast. Several attributes contribute to the invasiveness of C. orbiculatus, including tolerance to a wide range of light levels and habitat types. We compared soil characteristics in seven sets of adjacent, paired plots, spanning a range of habitats and soil types, with and without C. orbiculatus. The paired plots were similar other than the presence or absence of Celastrus. Plots with C. orbiculatus had significantly higher soil pH, potassium, calcium and magnesium levels. Furthermore, nitrogen mineralization and litter decomposition rates were higher in plots with C. orbiculatus. Phosphorus levels were not significantly different between the paired plots. The results of this study contribute to the growing body of research of the effects of invasive species on ecosystem processes.

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