Plant Ecology

, Volume 218, Issue 8, pp 947–955 | Cite as

Alteration of soil properties by the invasive tree Psidium cattleianum along a precipitation gradient on O'ahu Island, Hawai'i

  • Tsutomu Enoki
  • Donald R. Drake


To test the effects of invasion by strawberry guava trees (Psidium cattleianum) on the forest soil ecosystem, we compared soil properties between pairs of adjacent native and P. cattleianum stands. We set up six study sites that had developed under different mean annual precipitation levels in the Ko'olau Mountains on the island of O'ahu, Hawai'i. Accumulated litter mass and soil pH decreased with precipitation in the native stands. Invasion by P. cattleianum increased the amount of litter and reduced the differences in soil water content and pH among the sites. We compared the decomposition process using the Tea Bag Index, which is determined by the difference in dry mass of commercially available green and rooibos teas in nylon mesh bags before and after 90 days of burial. Psidium cattleianum increased the initial litter decomposition rate irrespective of precipitation and other soil properties. On the other hand, P. cattleianum increased the long-term litter stabilization factor of the Tea Bag Index in wetter sites. The accumulation of litter was likely caused by indirect effects of P. cattleianum through the alteration of soil moisture properties. In summary, this study shows that invasion by P. cattleianum could alter the soil properties in both wet and mesic sites, suggesting the possibility of change in composition and/or function of decomposers.


Decomposer Invasive non-native plant Litter accumulation Plant-soil interaction Psidium cattleianum Tea bag index 



We thank Dr. Kenta Watanabe for his assistance in the field survey. We also thank Dr. Clifford Morden and Ms. Amy Hruska for their collaboration on the research. We are also grateful to Dr. Paul Zweng for his permission and help in the field survey in Waikane Valley. We also acknowledge Waimea Arboretum and Mānoa Cliffs Restoration Area. This study was supported partly by the program for promoting the enhancement of research universities of Kyushu University.

Supplementary material

11258_2017_742_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


  1. Allison SD, Vitousek PM (2004) Rapid nutrient cycling in leaf litter from invasive plants in Hawai’i. Oecologia 141:612–619CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Allison SD, Nielsen C, Hughes RF (2006) Elevated enzyme activities in soils under the invasive nitrogenfixing tree Falcataria moluccana. Soil Biol Biochem 38:1537–1544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aponte C, García LV, Marañón T (2013) Tree species effects on nutrient cycling and soil biota: a feedback mechanism favouring species coexistence. For Ecol Manag 309:36–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Austin AT, Vitousek PM (2000) Precipitation, decomposition and litter decomposability of Metrosideros polymorpha in native forests on Hawai’i. J Ecol 88:129–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ayres E, Steltzer H, Berg S, Wallenstein MD, Simmons BL, Wall DH (2009) Tree species traits influence soil physical, chemical, and biological properties in high elevation forests. PLoS ONE 4:e5964CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Baruch Z, Goldstein G (1999) Leaf construction cost, nutrient concentration, and net CO2 assimilation of native and invasive species in Hawaii. Oecologia 121:183–192CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bothwell LD, Selmants PC, Giardina CP, Litton CM (2014) Leaf litter decomposition rates increase with rising mean annual temperature in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests. PeerJ 2:e685CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Ehrenfeld JG (2003) Effects of exotic plant invasions on soil nutrient cycling processes. Ecosystems 6:503–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Florens FBV, Baider C, Martin GMN, Seegoolam NB, Zmanay Z, Strasberg D (2016) Invasive alien plants progress to dominate protected and best-preserved wet forests of an oceanic island. J Nat Conserv 34:93–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Giambelluca TW, Chen Q, Frazier AG, Price JP, Chen Y-L, Chu P-S, Eischeid JK, Delparte DM (2013) Online rainfall atlas of Hawai‘i. Bull Am Meteor Soc 94:313–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Psidium cattleianum.
  12. Huenneke LF, Vitousek PM (1990) Seedling and clonal recruitment of invasive tree Psidium cattleianum: implications for management of native Hawaiian forests. Biol Conserv 53:199–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hughes RF, Denslow JS (2005) Invasion by a N2-fixing tree alters function and structure in wet lowland forests of Hawaii. Ecol Appl 15:1615–1628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hughes RF, Uowolo A (2006) Impacts of Falcataria moluccana invasion on decomposition in Hawaiian lowland wet forests: the importance of stand-level controls. Ecosystems 9:977–991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jacobi JD, Warshauer FR (1992) Distribution of six alien plant species in upland habitats on the island of Hawaii. In: Stone C, Smith C, Tunison T (eds) Alien plant invasions in native ecosystems of Hawaii. University of Hawaii, Honolulu, pp 155–188Google Scholar
  16. Keiser AD, Knoepp JD, Bradford MA (2013) Microbial communities may modify how litter quality affects potential decomposition rates as tree species migrate. Plant Soil 372:167–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Keuskamp JA, Dingemans BJJ, Lehtinen T, Sarneel JM, Hefting MM (2013) Tea bag index: a novel approach to collect uniform decomposition data across ecosystems. Methods Ecol Evol 4:1070–1075CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kueffer C, Klingler G, Zirfass K, Schumacher E, Edwards PJ, Güsewell S (2008) Invasive trees show only weak potential to impact nutrient dynamics in phosphorus-poor tropical forests in the Seychelles. Funct Ecol 22:359–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lugo AE (2004) The outcome of alien tree invasions in Puerto Rico. Front Ecol Environ 2:265–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mair A, Fares A (2010) Throughfall characteristics in three non-native Hawaiian forest stands. Agric Forest Meteorol 150:1453–1466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Martin PH, Marks PL (2006) Intact forests provide only weak resistance to a shade-tolerant invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides L.). J Ecol 94:1070–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Martin PH, Canham CD, Marks PL (2009) Why forests appear resistant to exotic plant invasions: intentional introductions, stand dynamics, and role of shade tolerance. Front Ecol Environ 7:142–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Orozco-Aceves M, Standish RJ, Tibbett M (2015) Long-term conditioning of soil by plantation eucalypts and pines does not affect growth of the native jarrah tree. For Ecol Manag 338:92–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Poorter H, Bergkotte M (1992) Chemical composition of 24 wild species differing in relative growth rate. Plant Cell Environ 15:221–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. R Development Core Team (2014) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical computing, Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0
  26. Reich PB, Walters MB, Ellsworth DS (1997) From tropics to tundra: global convergence in plant functioning. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:13730–13734CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Rothstein DE, Vitousek PM, Simmons BL (2004) An exotic tree alters decomposition and nutrient cycling in a Hawaiian montane forest. Ecosystems 7:805–814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Safeeq M, Fares A (2014) Interception losses in three non-native Hawaiian forest stands. Hydrol Process 28:237–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Santiago LS (2007) Extending the leaf economics spectrum to decomposition: evidence from a tropical forest. Ecology 88:1126–1131CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Schuur EA (2001) The effect of water on decomposition dynamics in mesic to wet Hawaiian montane forests. Ecosystems 4:259–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scowcroft PG, Turner DR, Vitousek PM (2000) Decomposition of Metrosideros polymorpha leaf litter along elevational gradients in Hawaii. Glob Change Biol 6:73–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith CW (1985) Impact of alien plants on Hawai’i’s native biota. In: Stone CP, Scott JP (eds) Hawai'i’s terrestrial ecosystems: preservation and management. Cooperative National Park Resource Study Unit, Univ. Hawaii, Honolulu, pp 180–250Google Scholar
  33. Takahashi M, Giambelluca TW, Mudd RG, DeLay JK, Nullet MA, Asner GP (2011) Rainfall partitioning and cloud water interception in native forest and invaded forest in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Hydrol Process 25:448–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Takenaka A (2009) CanoPon2. Available from
  35. Valladares F, Niinemets Ü (2008) Shade tolerance, a key plant feature of complex nature and consequences. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 39:237–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vitousek PM (1990) Invasions and ecosystem processes: towards an integration of population biology and ecosystem studies. Oikos 57:7–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhao J, Wan S, Za Li, Shao Y, Xu G, Liu Z, Zhou L, Fu S (2012) Dicranopteris-dominated understory as major driver of intensive forest ecosystem in humid subtropical and tropical region. Soil Biol Biochem 49:78–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kasuya Research ForestKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of Hawai‘i at MānoaHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations