Invasion by the Alien Tree Prunus serotina Alters Ecosystem Functions in a Temperate Deciduous Forest

Type Article
Date 2017-02
Language English
Author(s) Aerts RafORCID1, 2, Ewald Michael3, Nicolas Manuel4, 5, Piat Jerome4, 5, Skowronek Sandra6, Lenoir Jonathan7, Hattab Tarek7, Garzon-Lopez Carol X.7, Feilhauer Hannes, Schmidtlein Sebastian3, Rocchini Duccio8, Decocq Guillaume7, Somers Ben2, Van De Kerchove Ruben9, Denef Karolien10, Honnay OlivierORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Katholieke Univ Leuven, Ecol Evolut & Biodivers Conservat Sect, Leuven, Belgium.
2 : Katholieke Univ Leuven, Div Forest Nat & Landscape, Leuven, Belgium.
3 : Karlsruher Inst Technol, Inst Geog & Geookol, Karlsruhe, Germany.
4 : Off Natl Forets, Fontainebleau, France.
5 : Off Natl Forets, Compiegne, France.
6 : Univ Erlangen Nurnberg, Geog, Erlangen, Germany.
7 : Univ Picardie Jules Verne, FRE CNRS UPJV 3498, Ecol & Dynam Syst Anthropises EDYSAN, Amiens, France.
8 : Edmund Mach Fdn, Res & Innovat Ctr CRI, Dept Biodivers & Mol Ecol, Trento, Italy.
9 : VITO NV, Unit Remote Sensing & Earth Observat Proc, Mol, Belgium.
10 : Colorado State Univ, Dept Chem, Cent Instrument Facil, Ft Collins, CO 80523 USA.
Source Frontiers In Plant Science (1664-462X) (Frontiers Media Sa), 2017-02 , Vol. 8 , N. 179 , P. 1-11
DOI 10.3389/fpls.2017.00179
WOS© Times Cited 53
Keyword(s) American black cherry, biological invasion, biogeochemical cycles, canopy foliar nutrients, heterotrophic respiration, litter, exotic species, invasive species

Alien invasive species can affect large areas, often with wide-ranging impacts on ecosystem structure, function, and services. Prunus serotina is a widespread invader of European temperate forests, where it tends to form homogeneous stands and limits recruitment of indigenous trees. We hypotesized that invasion by P. serotina would be reflected in the nutrient contents of the native species' leaves and in the respiration of invaded plots as efficient resource uptake and changes in nutrient cycling by P. serotina probably underly its aggressive invasiveness. We combined data from 48 field plots in the forest of Compiegne, France, and data from an experiment using 96 microcosms derived from those field plots. We used general linear models to separate effects of invasion by P. serotina on heterotrophic soil and litter respiration rates and on canopy foliar nutrient content from effects of soil chemical properties, litter quantity, litter species composition, and tree species composition. In invaded stands, average respiration rates were 5.6% higher for soil (without litter) and 32% higher for soil and litter combined. Compared to indigenous tree species, P. serotina exhibited higher foliar N (+24.0%), foliar P (+50.7%), and lower foliar C:N (-22.4%) and N:P (-10.1%) ratios. P. serotina affected foliar nutrient contents of co-occuring indigenous tree species leading to decreased foliar N (-8.7 %) and increased C: N ratio (+9.5%) in Fagus sylvatica, decreased foliar N: P ratio in Carpinus betulus (-13.5%) and F. sylvatica (-11.8%), and increased foliar P in Pinus sylvestris (+12.3%) in invaded vs. uninvaded stands. Our results suggest that P. serotina is changing nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycles to its own advantage, hereby increasing carbon turnover via labile litter, affecting the relative nutrient contents in the overstory leaves, and potentially altering the photosynthetic capacity of the long-lived indigenous broadleaved species. Uncontrolled invasion of European temperate forests by P. serotina may affect the climate change mitigation potential of these forests in the long term, through additive effects on local nutrient cycles.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Publisher's official version 11 1 MB Open access
Video 1 MB Open access
Presentation 1 9 1 MB Open access
Presentation 2 5 676 KB Open access
Data sheet 1 274 KB Open access
Data sheet 2 4 454 KB Open access
Top of the page

How to cite 

Aerts Raf, Ewald Michael, Nicolas Manuel, Piat Jerome, Skowronek Sandra, Lenoir Jonathan, Hattab Tarek, Garzon-Lopez Carol X., Feilhauer Hannes, Schmidtlein Sebastian, Rocchini Duccio, Decocq Guillaume, Somers Ben, Van De Kerchove Ruben, Denef Karolien, Honnay Olivier (2017). Invasion by the Alien Tree Prunus serotina Alters Ecosystem Functions in a Temperate Deciduous Forest. Frontiers In Plant Science, 8(179), 1-11. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :