Changes in Microclimate

By changing the vegetation structure, invasive species can influence microclimate. For instance, the higher litter decomposition rate in New Zealand podocarp forest invaded by Tradescantia fluminensis was attributed to the wetter microclimate in dense mats of the invasive species (Standish et al., 2004). Similarly, in Australian dunes invaded by Chrysanthemoides monilifera litter decomposed faster under the invasive plant than under the native vegetation probably because Chrysanthemoides provided wetter conditions (Lindsay & French, 2004).

In our experiment, the decomposition rate was slightly but significantly higher in invaded than in uninvaded plots (figure 4). This difference may also be linked to wetter conditions in the invaded plots as revealed by the development of faunal communities which usually lived in moist environments.

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