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Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum) has become one of the most serious ecological threats to the integrity of the greater Everglades ecosystem of south Florida. In this study, we analyzed the effects of Old World climbing fern on surfacesoil characteristics at invaded sites in Florida. We compared soil characteristics of six invaded and adjacent uninvaded plots at three different locations. Our results show that the fern can grow and thrive in a wide range of soil types and the impact on the soil was site specific with effects being more prominent in sites with low nutrient status. Additionally, there were significant differences in the soil nutrient status and microbial population in the invaded and uninvaded sites. Sites with Old World climbing fern had significantly higher nutrient concentrations that correlated with higher soil organic matter. Overall our results indicate that this exotic pest plant can potentially alter its below ground environment to its own benefit by enhancing the soil nutrient status by adding soil organic matter.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Journal of soil science and plant nutrition





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