EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 10 - 2006 Num. article: 2006/223

Impact of nine invasive alien plant species on soil properties in Belgium

Alterations of soil properties by invasive alien plants have sometimes been reported, but generalization of this impact has always proven difficult. The impact of nine invasive alien plants on mineral nutrients in soil and standing biomass has been studied with a common methodology: Solidago gigantea (EPPO list of invasive alien plants), Reynoutria japonica (EPPO list of invasive alien plants), Heracleum mantegazzianum (EPPO list of invasive alien plants), Prunus serotina (EPPO list of invasive alien plants), Impatiens glandulifera (EPPO list of invasive alien plants), Impatiens parviflora, Rosa rugosa, Senecio inaequidens (EPPO list of invasive alien plants) and Polemonium caeruleum.
Studies on soil properties (pH, CEC, C, N, Ca, Mg, K, P, Mn), on primary productivity and on mineral element concentrations in plants between invaded plots and surrounding uninvaded vegetation were conducted. When all sites or species were pooled, there was a general pattern of increased concentration of nutrients (K, Mg and Mn) in the topsoil under invasive alien species. Schematically, the nine species followed one of the three following patterns:
  • increased concentration of nutrients in topsoil (e.g. Reynoutria japonica),
  • weak impact on topsoil chemistry (e.g. Heracleum mantegazzianum, Polemonium caeruleum),
  • elevation of a few specific nutrients (e.g. phosphorus in Solidago gigantea)


Dassonville N, Vanderhoeven S, Meerts P (2006) Impact of nine alien invasive plant species on soil properties in Belgium. In: Neobiota. From Ecology to Conservation. 4th European Conference on Biological Invasions. Vienna (Austria), 2006-09-27/29, BfN-Skripten 184: page 102.