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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334905

Title: Do invasive plant species alter soil health?

item UNGER, IRENE - Westminster College
item GOYNE, KEITH - University Of Missouri
item Veum, Kristen
item KREMER, ROBERT - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2017
Publication Date: 2/1/2017
Citation: Unger, I., Goyne, K.W., Veum, K.S., Kremer, R.J. 2017. Do invasive plant species alter soil health? [abstract]. Missouri Natural Resources Conference, February 1-3, 2017, Osage Beach, Missouri. Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Invasive species may alter soil characteristics or interact with the soil microbial community to yield a competitive advantage. Our objectives were to determine: if invasive plant species alter soil properties important to soil health; and the long-term effects of invasive plant species on soil properties and subsequent implications on ecological restoration efforts. We focused on sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata ). Soil samples were collected from four locations in Central Missouri: an old-field, two re-constructed prairies, and a remnant (unplowed) prairie. The re-constructed prairies, planted in 2011 and 2013, were under similar management: 3-5 years of cropping to eradicate undesirable plants followed by broadcast seeding with seeds collected from near-by prairies to restore prairie assemblages. At each site we collected four soil samples at two depths. Soils were intentionally collected underneath sericea lespedeza at the old field site, while at the other 3 sites sericea lespedeza was intentionally avoided. Soil health was assessed in a variety of ways: i) physical properties: color, texture, bulk density and water-stable aggregates; ii) chemical properties: pH, base cations, active-C, total soluble phenolics, and electrical conductivity; and iii) biological properties: Beta-glucosidase and Beta-glucosaminidase for community function and PLFA for community structure. The re-constructed prairies generally did not differ from the invaded old-field; instead they differed significantly from the unplowed prairie. These results indicate that the re-constructed prairies are not fully recovered. Although above ground traits appear as prairie, soils still resemble that of an invaded site. Additional investigations, including other sites in the region, are needed to verify this work.