Ailanthus altissima is an invasive alien species (IAS) present throughout Europe and included in the list of alien species of Union concern. In sub‐Mediterranean areas of central Italy, there is a lack of knowledge about this invasive species and its interactions with the native forest ecosystems. We aim to find what are the main differences in vegetation structure and floristic diversity between A. altissima forests and native forests through the assessment of the principal ecological parameters that differ between the forest types. We performed 38 phytosociological relevés and sampling of ecological parameters in A. altissima forest communities and neighboring native forests. We analyzed how species richness, diversity, life forms, life strategies, structural characteristics, and ecological parameters changed in A. altissima forests compared with native ones. We found that in A. altissima forests, there is a shift in herbaceous layer richness, with a higher presence of annual ruderal herbs and the absence of herbaceous species linked to the forest environment. The ecological parameters that diverge from the native forests were total nitrogen, total carbon, and C/N ratio. A. altissima forest communities could threaten the biodiversity of the native forest ecosystems in the sub‐Mediterranean landscape, favoring ruderal species and inhibiting the presence of typical forest species

Ailanthus altissima Forests Determine a Shift in Herbaceous Layer Richness: A Paired Comparison with Hardwood Native Forests in Sub‐Mediterranean Europe

Silvia Montecchiari
;
Giulio Tesei;Marina Allegrezza
2020

Abstract

Ailanthus altissima is an invasive alien species (IAS) present throughout Europe and included in the list of alien species of Union concern. In sub‐Mediterranean areas of central Italy, there is a lack of knowledge about this invasive species and its interactions with the native forest ecosystems. We aim to find what are the main differences in vegetation structure and floristic diversity between A. altissima forests and native forests through the assessment of the principal ecological parameters that differ between the forest types. We performed 38 phytosociological relevés and sampling of ecological parameters in A. altissima forest communities and neighboring native forests. We analyzed how species richness, diversity, life forms, life strategies, structural characteristics, and ecological parameters changed in A. altissima forests compared with native ones. We found that in A. altissima forests, there is a shift in herbaceous layer richness, with a higher presence of annual ruderal herbs and the absence of herbaceous species linked to the forest environment. The ecological parameters that diverge from the native forests were total nitrogen, total carbon, and C/N ratio. A. altissima forest communities could threaten the biodiversity of the native forest ecosystems in the sub‐Mediterranean landscape, favoring ruderal species and inhibiting the presence of typical forest species
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11566/289878
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