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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(3), 1139-1153; doi:10.3390/ijgi3031139

The Relationship between an Invasive Shrub and Soil Moisture: Seasonal Interactions and Spatially Covarying Relations

Department of Geography, University of Toronto Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 2 September 2014 / Published: 19 September 2014
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Abstract

Recent studies indicate that positive relationships between invasive plants and soil can contribute to further plant invasions. However, it remains unclear whether these relations remain unchanged throughout the growing season. In this study, spatial sequences of field observations along a transect were used to reveal seasonal interactions and spatially covarying relations between one common invasive shrub (Tartarian Honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica) and soil moisture in a tall grassland habitat. Statistical analysis over the transect shows that the contrast between soil moisture in shrub and herbaceous patches vary with season and precipitation. Overall, a negatively covarying relationship between shrub and soil moisture (i.e., drier surface soils at shrub microsites) exists during the very early growing period (e.g., May), while in summer a positively covarying phenomenon (i.e., wetter soils under shrubs) is usually evident, but could be weakened or vanish during long precipitation-free periods. If there is sufficient rainfall, surface soil moisture and leaf area index (LAI) often spatially covary with significant spatial oscillations at an invariant scale (which is governed by the shrub spatial pattern and is about 8 m), but their phase relation in space varies with season, consistent with the seasonal variability of the co-varying phenomena between shrub invasion and soil water content. The findings are important for establishing a more complete picture of how shrub invasion affects soil moisture. View Full-Text
Keywords: invasive shrub; soil moisture; seasonal interactions; spatially covarying invasive shrub; soil moisture; seasonal interactions; spatially covarying
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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He, Y. The Relationship between an Invasive Shrub and Soil Moisture: Seasonal Interactions and Spatially Covarying Relations. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3, 1139-1153.

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