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Light interception principally drives the understory response to boxelder invasion in riparian forests

Bottollier-Curtet, Marion and Charcosset, Jean-Yves and Poly, Franck and Planty-Tabacchi, Anne-Marie and Tabacchi, Eric Light interception principally drives the understory response to boxelder invasion in riparian forests. (2012) Biological Invasions, 14 (7). 1445-1458. ISSN 1387-3547

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10530-011-0170-0


Since several decades, American boxelder (Acer negundo) is replacing white willow (Salix alba) riparian forests along southern European rivers. This study aims to evaluate the consequences of boxelder invasion on understory community in riparian areas. We determined the understory species richness, composition and biomass in boxelder and white willow stands located in three riparian forests, representative of three rivers with distinct hydrological regimes. We investigated correlation of these variables to soil moisture and particle size, main soil nutrient stocks, potential nitrification and denitrification, tree canopy cover and photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) at the ground level. A greenhouse experiment was then conducted to identify the causal factors responsible for changes in the understory. The effect of soil type, PAR level and water level on the growth and the biomass production of Urtica dioica were examined. A lower plant species richness and biomass, and a modification of community composition were observed for boxelder understory in all sites, regardless of their environmental characteristics. The strongest modification that follows boxelder invasion was the decline in U. dioica, the dominant species of the white willow forest understory. These differences were mainly correlated with a lower incident PAR under boxelder canopy. The greenhouse experiment identified PAR level as the main factor responsible for the changes in U. dioica stem number and biomass. Our results indicate that adult boxelder acts as an ecosystem engineer that decreases light availability. The opportunistic invasion by boxelder leads to important understory changes, which could alter riparian ecosystem functioning.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Springer Verlag editor. The original PDF of the article can be found at Biological Invasions website : http://link.springer.com/journal/10530
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Claude Bernard-Lyon I - UCBL (FRANCE)
Other partners > Institut d'enseignement supérieur et de recherche en alimentation, santé animale, sciences agronomiques et de l'environnement - VetAgro Sup (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:04 Mar 2014 10:29

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