Linking above- and belowground resource use strategies for native and invasive species of temperate deciduous forests

Insu Jo, Jason D. Fridley, Douglas A. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Non-native invasive species are often more productive aboveground than co-occurring natives. Because aboveground productivity is closely tied to plant nitrogen (N) uptake and use, high invader leaf productivity should be associated with root growth and plant N use strategies. However, little is known about the above- and belowground carbon (C) and N use strategies of native and invasive plants. We measured shoot and root attributes and soil properties associated with 10 native and 14 non-native invasive forest shrubs and lianas of the Eastern U.S. in a common garden in Syracuse, New York (USA), including leaf growth and chemistry (C, N), root growth, specific root length (SRL), root tissue density, and associated soil C and N concentration, each determined at 2-month intervals (July–November). Non-native species had greater leaf and root production, leaf N concentration, and SRL, but lower leaf N resorption rates and root N concentration than natives. Soil N concentration associated with non-natives was significantly lower than that of native species. Our results suggest that greater aboveground productivity of invasive forest species is linked to greater production of fine roots that may increase the capacity of invaders to take up soil resources. In addition, our findings suggest that invaders beget more rapid plant-soil N feedbacks by promoting N cycling compared to the strategy of slow growing native species that emphasizes recycled plant N. Such differences in N use strategy between native and non-native species would significantly impact forest soil nutrient cycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1545-1554
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Eastern USA
  • Invasion ecology
  • Nitrogen cycling
  • Nitrogen resorption
  • Root traits
  • Specific root length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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