Neighbourhood association of Cortaderia selloana invasion, soil properties and plant community structure in Mediterranean coastal grasslands

Roser Domènech, Montserrat Vilà, Josep Gesti, Isabel Serrasolses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Invasion by alien species is threatening the conservation of native plant communities and the integrity of ecosystems. To gain a better understanding of such impacts, many studies have examined the traits that make alien species successful invaders as well as the factors involved in community invasibility. However, it is necessary to link invader effects on community structure and on ecosystem processes in order to unravel the mechanisms of impact. Cortaderia selloana is a perennial grass native to South America that is invading abandoned agricultural lands close to coastal human settlements in Catalonia (NE Spain). In invaded pastures, we examined the association between C. selloana invasion, soil properties and vegetation structure changes in pastures, comparing the neighbourhood area of influence of C. selloana with areas far from C. selloana. Areas under the influence of C. selloana had lower total soil nitrogen values and higher C/N values than in areas far from C. selloana. Furthermore, the areas affected by C. selloana had lower species, family and life form richness and diversity, and less plant cover. In addition, C. selloana also increased the vertical vegetation structure and changed species composition (only 44% similarity between invaded and non-invaded areas). Our results point out that C. selloana has an effect on its neighbourhood leading to an increase in small-scale variability within invaded fields. © 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-177
JournalActa Oecologica
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2006

Keywords

  • Alien species
  • Neighbourhood effects
  • Old-fields
  • Pastures
  • Plant diversity
  • Small-scale variability
  • Soil C/N

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