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Effects of tree sapling diversity and nutrient addition on herb-layer invasibility in communities of subtropical species


Both, Sabine; Fang, Teng; Baruffol, Martin; Schmid, Bernhard; Bruelheide, Helge; Erfmeier, Alexandra (2012). Effects of tree sapling diversity and nutrient addition on herb-layer invasibility in communities of subtropical species. Open Journal of Ecology, 2(1):1-11.

Abstract

Exotic species are assumed to alter ecosystem functioning. However, little is known of the rela- tionships within vertically structured plant com- munities such as forests, where tree saplings interact with herbaceous species, especially in the early phases of succession. This relation- ship was tested in a common garden experiment which assessed the impacts on tree saplings and herbaceous species following nutrient ad- dition and the introduction of exotic herb spe- cies. The experiment was established in South- East China using four broad-leaved tree species (Elaeocarpus decipiens, Schima superba, Cas- tanea henryi and Quercus serrata) to study the relationships between tree sapling diversity, herb-layer productivity and invasibility. Tree sa- plings were planted in monoculture and in mix- tures of two and four species. A full factorial design was applied, within which species com- position was crossed with nutrient and exotic seed-addition treatments. The seed-addition treat- ment included mixtures of seeds from eight ex- otic herb species, and herb community attrib- utes were assessed after a four month growing season. Results indicate that certain tree spe- cies negatively affect native as well as exotic herbs; however, the high productivity of native herbs had a stronger negative impact on exotic species than tree saplings. Nutrient addition in- creased the productivity of exotic herbs but had no effect on native herbs. Remarkably, exotic species introduction had a negative feedback effect on the growth of tree saplings, which highlights the potential of exotic herbs to di- minish tree recruitment. Although tree saplings
reduced invasive effects on the herb-layer dur- ing the earliest phase of forest succession, nu- trient addition had a more profound and op- posite effect on these invaders.

Abstract

Exotic species are assumed to alter ecosystem functioning. However, little is known of the rela- tionships within vertically structured plant com- munities such as forests, where tree saplings interact with herbaceous species, especially in the early phases of succession. This relation- ship was tested in a common garden experiment which assessed the impacts on tree saplings and herbaceous species following nutrient ad- dition and the introduction of exotic herb spe- cies. The experiment was established in South- East China using four broad-leaved tree species (Elaeocarpus decipiens, Schima superba, Cas- tanea henryi and Quercus serrata) to study the relationships between tree sapling diversity, herb-layer productivity and invasibility. Tree sa- plings were planted in monoculture and in mix- tures of two and four species. A full factorial design was applied, within which species com- position was crossed with nutrient and exotic seed-addition treatments. The seed-addition treat- ment included mixtures of seeds from eight ex- otic herb species, and herb community attrib- utes were assessed after a four month growing season. Results indicate that certain tree spe- cies negatively affect native as well as exotic herbs; however, the high productivity of native herbs had a stronger negative impact on exotic species than tree saplings. Nutrient addition in- creased the productivity of exotic herbs but had no effect on native herbs. Remarkably, exotic species introduction had a negative feedback effect on the growth of tree saplings, which highlights the potential of exotic herbs to di- minish tree recruitment. Although tree saplings
reduced invasive effects on the herb-layer dur- ing the earliest phase of forest succession, nu- trient addition had a more profound and op- posite effect on these invaders.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:BEF-China; Early-Successional Communities; Exotic Seed-Addition; Fertilizer Application
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:09 Jul 2012 07:52
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 14:25
Publisher:Scientific Research Publishing
ISSN:2162-1985
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4236/oje.2012.21001

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