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Open AccessArticle

The Effects of Soils from Different Forest Types on the Growth of the Invasive Plant Phytolacca americana

College of Life Sciences, Ludong University, Yantai 264025, China
Environment and Plant Protection Institute, Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences, Haikou 571101, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(6), 492;
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 1 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Invasive Species: Spread, Impact and Management)
Due to increasing globalization and human disturbance, plant invasion has become a worldwide concern. Soil characteristics associated with the vegetation of recipient communities affect plant invasion success to a great extent. However, the relative importance of soil biotic and abiotic factors of different recipient communities in resisting plant invasion is not fully understood. We hypothesized that natural forest soils can better resist plant invasion than can plantation soils, that the allelopathic legacy of resident trees in soil plays a role in resisting invasive plants, and that late-successional soils have a strong effect. We examined the effects of soil and litter collected from four natural forests at successional stages and one Robinia pseudoacacia Linn. plantation in eastern China on the growth of Phytolacca americana L., which is a highly invasive species across China, and explored the individual effects of soil nutrients, allelochemicals, and soil microbes. We found that allelopathic activity of natural forest soils can effectively resist P. americana invasion, and that low level of nutrients, especially of phosphorus, in the soils might be potential limiting factors for the plant growth. The profound conditioning of soil resources by exotic R. pseudoacacia based on tree traits (including allelopathy) facilitated further P. americana invasion. Allelochemicals from forest litter inhibited the germination of P. americana seeds, but pH played a major role in P. americana growth when these substances entered the soil. However, we have no evidence that late-successional forest soils exhibit strong allelopathy toward P. americana. The present study will help to further our understanding of the mechanism of community resistance to invasion. View Full-Text
Keywords: plant invasion; community invasibility; forest soil; allelopathy; Phytolacca americana plant invasion; community invasibility; forest soil; allelopathy; Phytolacca americana
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Chen, P.-D.; Hou, Y.-P.; Zhuge, Y.-H.; Wei, W.; Huang, Q.-Q. The Effects of Soils from Different Forest Types on the Growth of the Invasive Plant Phytolacca americana. Forests 2019, 10, 492.

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