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      Micro-habitat and season dependent impact of the invasive Impatiens glandulifera on native vegetation

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The impact of invasive species is often difficult to assess due to species × ecosystem interactions. Impatiens glandulifera heavily invaded several habitat types in Central Europe but its impact on native plant communities is rated ambiguously. One reason could be that the impact differs between habitat types or even between environmentally heterogeneous patches (micro-habitats) within one habitat type. In the present study a vegetation survey was performed within heterogeneous riverside habitats in Germany investigating the impact of I. glandulifera on native vegetation in dependence of environmental conditions. The vegetation was recorded in summer and spring because of seasonal species turnover and thus potentially different impact of the invasive plant. We found that the cover of I. glandulifera depended on environmental conditions resulting in a patchy occurrence. I. glandulifera did not have any impact on plant alpha-diversity but reduced the cover of the native vegetation, especially of the dominant species. This effect depended on micro-habitat and season. The native vegetation was most affected in bright micro-habitats, especially those with a high soil moisture. Not distinguishing between micro-habitats, plant species composition was not affected in summer but in spring. However, environmental conditions had a higher impact on the native vegetation than I. glandulifera. We conclude that within riparian habitats the threat of I. glandulifera to the native vegetation can be rated low since native species were reduced in cover but not excluded from the communities. This might be due to patchy occurrence and year-to-year changes in cover of I. glandulifera. The context-dependency in terms of micro-habitat and season requires specific risk assessments which is also an opportunity for nature conservation to develop management plans specific to the different habitats. Particular attention should be given to habitats that are bright and very wet since the effect of I. glandulifera was strongest in these habitats.

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          Most cited references 38

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                June 17 2020
                June 17 2020
                : 57
                : 109-131
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.57.51331
                © 2020

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