Direct and indirect effects of invasion by the alien tree Ailanthus altissima on riparian plant communities and ecosystem multifunctionality

Constán-Nava, Soraya; Soliveres, Santiago; Torices, Rubén; Serra, Lluí­s; Bonet, Andreu (2015). Direct and indirect effects of invasion by the alien tree Ailanthus altissima on riparian plant communities and ecosystem multifunctionality. Biological invasions, 17(4), pp. 1095-1108. Kluwer 10.1007/s10530-014-0780-4

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Most existing studies addressing the effects of invasive species on biodiversity focus on species richness ignoring better indicators of biodiversity and better predictors of ecosystem functioning such as the diversity of evolutionary histories (phylodiversity). Moreover, no previous study has separated the direct effect of alien plants on multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously (multifunctionality) from those indirect ones mediated by the decrease on biodiversity caused by alien plants. We aimed to analyze direct and indirect effects, mediated or not by its effect on biodiversity, of the invasive tree Ailanthus altissima on ecosystem multifunctionality of riparian habitats under Mediterranean climate. We measured vegetation attributes (species richness and phylodiversity) and several surrogates of ecosystem functioning (understory plant biomass, soil enzyme activities, available phosphorous and organic matter) in plots infested by A. altissima and in control (non-invaded) ones. We used structural equation modelling to tease apart the direct and indirect effects of A. altissima on ecosystem multifunctionality. Our results suggest that lower plant species richness, phylodiversity and multifunctionality were associated to the presence of A. altissima. When analyzing each function separately, we found that biodiversity has the opposite effect of the alien plant on all the different functions measured, therefore reducing the strength of the effect (either positive or negative) of A. altissima on them. This is one of the few existing studies addressing the effect of invasive species on phylodiversity and also studying the effect of invasive species on multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biodiversity

UniBE Contributor:

Soliveres, Santiago

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1387-3547

Publisher:

Kluwer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

19 Jun 2015 11:45

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2015 11:27

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10530-014-0780-4

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Biodiversity, Ecosystem function, Invasive species, Path analysis, Phylodiversity, Riparian forests

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.69666

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/69666

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