This study investigated the chemical properties of the invasive shrub Rhododendron ponticum’s leaf litter on native or naturalised trees’ leaf litter. Quercus petraea, Fraxinus excelsior and Acer pseudoplatanus were chosen as they are commonly found in invaded broadleaf woodlands.
The study assessed;
Results showed that invasive litter chemistry can alter the decomposition of native litter, with the impact varying between species. Altered decomposition rates could cause plant-soil feedbacks, leading to altered soil nutrient concentrations. The novel soil conditions may favour the invader, increasing its dominance, whilst negatively influencing native species possessing greater nutrient demands.
This study highlights the potential for invasive shrubs to alter the natural balance of ecosystems.
Jones, G.L., Scullion, J., Worgan, H. and Gwynn-Jones, D. (2019). Litter of the invasive shrub Rhododendron ponticum (Ericaceae) modifies the decomposition rate of native UK woodland litter. Ecological Indicators, 107, 105597.