Euonymus fortunei dominance over native species may be facilitated by plant–soil feedback
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Positive plant–soil feedback (PSF) may be a mechanism of invader dominance, whereas PSF is often negative for native species. Previous work in Eastern deciduous forests of North America has shown that the invasive liana Euonymus fortunei participates in a net positive PSF with native groundcover Asarum canadense, indicating that PSF may contribute to invader dominance. However, to identify PSF as a general invasion driver for Euonymus, we must consider the average net pairwise feedback for multiple native–invasive species pairs, and compare this to the average net pairwise feedback amongst native–native pairs. Here, we test E. fortunei in net pairwise feedback against five native species, comparing native–invader feedback to feedback amongst natives over a gradient of light availability. PSF was on average neutral for invader–native pairs and on average negative for native–native pairs, indicating that Euonymus does not face the same constraints that limit the growth of native species. Because even neutral feedback can facilitate invasion, results indicate that PSF may facilitate invader dominance over a broad range of native functional groups and light conditions in Eastern deciduous forest.