Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of Lonicera maackii on Soil Carbon and Nitrogen in Southwestern Ohio Forests

  • Sarah E. Kolbe (a1), Amy Townsend-Small (a1), Arnold I. Miller (a1), Theresa M. Culley (a2) and Guy N. Cameron (a2)...


Introduced plants threaten biodiversity and ecosystem processes, including carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles, but little is known about the threshold at which such effects occur. We examined the impact of the invasive shrub Amur honeysuckle on soil organic carbon (SOC) and N density at study sites that varied in invasion history. In plots with and without honeysuckle, we measured honeysuckle abundance and size (basal area) and extracted soil cores. SOC and N densities were highest at the site with the longest invasion history and highest invasion intensity (i.e., greatest abundance and basal area of honeysuckle). Basal area of honeysuckle positively affected SOC and N densities likely because of increased litter decomposition and altered microbial communities. Because honeysuckle increases forest net primary productivity (NPP) and SOC, it also may play a role in C sequestration. Our results demonstrate the need to consider the influence of invasion history and intensity when evaluating the potential impact of invasive species.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Allison, SD, Vitousek, PM (2004) Rapid nutrient cycling in leaf litter from invasive plants in Hawai'i. Oecologia 141:612619
Arthur, MA, Bray, SR, Kuchle, CR, McEwan, RW (2012) The influence of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, on leaf decomposition and microbial community dynamics. Plant Ecol 213:15711582
Ashton, IW, Hyatt, LA, Howe, KM, Gurevitch, J, Lerdau, MT (2005) Invasive species accelerate decomposition and litter nitrogen loss in a mixed deciduous forest. Ecol Appl 15:12631272
Asner, GP, Archer, S, Hughes, RF, Ansley, RJ, Wessman, CA (2003) Net changes in regional woody vegetation cover and carbon storage in Texas drylands, 1937–1999. Glob Change Biol 9:316335
Blair, BC, Stowasser, A (2009) Impact of Lonicera maackii on decomposition rates of native leaf litter in a southwestern Ohio woodland. Ohio J Sci 109:4347
Blank, RR, Young, JA (1997) Lepidium latifolium: influences on soil properties, rate of spread, and competitive stature. Pages 6980 in Brock, JH, Wade, M, Pyšek, P, Green, D, eds., Plant Invasions: Studies from North America and Europe. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys
Braun, EL (1961) The Woody Plants of Ohio. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. 362 p
Bunker, DE, DeClerck, F, Bradford, JC, Colwell, RR, Perfecto, I, Phillips, OL, Sankaran, M, Naeem, S (2005) Species loss and aboveground storage in a tropical forest. Science 310:10291031
Cipollini, D, Dorning, M (2008) Direct and indirect effects of conditioned soils and tissue extracts of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, on target plant performance. Castanea 73:166176
Cipollini, D, Titus, K, Wagner, C (2012) Allelopathic effects of invasive species (Alliaria petiolata, Lonicera maackii, Ranunculus ficaria) in the Midwestern United States. Allelopathy J 29:6376
Collier, MH, Vankat, JL, Hughes, MR (2002) Diminished plant richness and abundance below Lonicera maackii, an invasive shrub. Am Midl Nat 147:6071
Crooks, JA 2005. Lag times and exotic species: the ecology and management of biological invasions in slow-motion. Ecoscience 12:316329
De Deyn, GB, Cornelissen, JHC, Bardgett, RD (2008) Plant functional traits and soil carbon sequestration in contrasting biomes. Ecol Lett 11:516531
Dorning, M, Cipollini, D (2006) Leaf and root extracts of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, inhibit germination of three herbs with no autotoxic effects. Plant Ecol 184:287296
Ehrenfeld, JG (2003) Effects of exotic plant invasions on soil nutrient cycling processes. Ecosystems 6:503523
Ehrenfeld, JG (2010) Ecosystem consequences of biological invasions. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 41:5980
Ehrenfeld, JG, Kourtev, P, Huang, W (2001) Changes in soil functions following invasions of exotic understory plants in deciduous forests. Ecol Appl 11:12871300
Evans, RD, Rimer, R, Sperry, L, Belnap, J (2001) Exotic plant invasion alters nitrogen dynamics in an arid grassland. Ecol Appl 11:13011310
Fridley, JD (2012) Extended leaf phenology and the autumn niche in deciduous forest invasions. Nature 485:359362
Gaertner, M, Den Breeyen, A, Hui, C, Richardson, DM (2009) Impacts of alien plant invasions on species richness in Mediterranean-type ecosystems: a meta-analysis. Prog Phys Geog 33:319338
Gorchov, DL, Trisel, DE (2003) Competitive effects of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder (Caprifoliaceae), on the growth and survival of native tree seedlings. Plant Ecol 166:1324
Grime, JP (1998) Benefits of plant diversity on ecosystems: intermediate, filter, and founder effects. J Ecol 86:902910
Grout, JA, Levings, CD, Richardson, JS (1997) Decomposition rates of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and Lyngbyei's sedge (Carex lyngbyei) in the Fraser River estuary. Estuar Coast 20:96102
Hartman, KM, McCarthy, BC (2004) Restoration of a forest understory after removal of an invasive shrub, Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Restor Ecol 12:154165
Hartman, KM, McCarthy, BC (2008) Changes in forest structure and species composition following invasion by a non-indigenous shrub, Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). J Torrey Bot Soc 135:245259
Hättenschwiler, S, Tiunov, AV, Scheu, S (2005) Biodiversity and litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems. Ann Rev Ecol Evol Syst 36:191218
Hawkes, CV, Wren, IF, Herman, DJ, Firestone, MK (2005) Plant invasion alters nitrogen cycling by modifying the soil nitrifying community. Ecol Lett 8:976985
Hutchinson, TF, Vankat, JL (1997) Invasibility and effects of Amur honeysuckle in southwestern Ohio forests. Conserv Biol 11:11171124
Iannone, DC III, Heneghan, L, Rijal, DW, Wise, DH 2015 Below-ground causes and consequences of woodland shrub invasions: a novel paired-point framework reveals new insights. J Appl Ecol 52:7888
Knops, JMH, Bradley, KL, Wedin, DA (2002) Mechanisms of plant species impacts on ecosystem nitrogen cycling. Ecol Lett 5:454466
Kuebbing, SE, Classen, AT, Call, JJ, Henning, JA, Simberloff, D (2015) Plant–soil interactions promote co-occurrence of three nonnative woody shrubs. Ecology 96:22892299
Kuebbing, SE, Classen, AT, Simberloff, D (2014) Two co-occurring invasive woody shrubs alter soil properties and promote subdominant invasive species. J Appl Ecol 51:124133
Lett, MS, Knapp, AK, Briggs, JM, Blair, JM (2004) Influence of shrub encroachment on aboveground net primary productivity and carbon and nitrogen pools in a mesic grassland. Can J Bot 82:13631370
Liao, C, Peng, R, Luo, Y, Zhou, X, Wu, X, Fang, C, Chen, J, Li, B (2008) Altered ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycles by plant invasion: a meta-analysis. New Phytol 177:706714
Luken, JO (1988) Population structure and biomass allocation of the naturalized shrub Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Maxim. in forest and open habitats. Am Midl Nat 119:258267
Luken, JO, Mattimiro, DT (1991) Habitat-specific resilience of the invasive shrub Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) during repeated clipping. Ecol Appl 1:104109
Luken, JO, Thieret, JW (1996) Amur honeysuckle, its fall from grace. BioScience 46:1824
Luken, JO, Tholemeier, TC, Kunkel, BA, Kuddes, LM (1995) Branch architecture plasticity of Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder): initial response in extreme light environments. Bull Torrey Bot Club 122:190195
Luo, Y, Hui, D, Zhang, D (2006) Elevated CO2 stimulates net accumulations of carbon and nitrogen in land ecosystems: a meta-analysis. Ecology 87:5363
McEwan, RW, Arthur, MA, Alverson, SE (2012) Throughfall chemistry and soil nutrient effects of the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii in deciduous forests. Am Midl Nat 168:4355
McEwan, RW, Birchfield, MK, Schoergendorfer, A, Arthur, MA (2009) Leaf phenology and freeze tolerance of the invasive shrub Amur honeysuckle and potential native competitors. J Torrey Bot Soc 136:212220
Miller, KE, Gorchov, DL (2004) The invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, reduces growth and fecundity of perennial forest herbs. Oecologia 139:359375
Peltzer, DA, Allen, RB, Lovett, GM, Whitehead, D, Wardle, DA (2010) Effects of biological invasion on forest carbon sequestration. Glob Change Biol 16:732746
Post, WM, Emanuel, WR, Zinke, PJ, Stangenberger, AG (1982) Soil carbon pools and world life zones. Nature 298:156159
Poulette, MM, Arthur, MA (2012) The impact of the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii on the decomposition dynamics of a native plant community. Ecol Appl 22:412424
Pyšek, P, Jaroški, V., Hulme, PE, Pergl, J, Hejda, M, Schaller, U, Vilá, M (2012) A global assessment of invasive plant impacts on resident species, communities and ecosystems: the interaction of impact measures, invading species’ traits and environment. Glob Change Biol 18:17251737
Raciti, SM, Groffman, PM, Jenkins, JC, Pouyat, RV, Fahey, TJ, Pickett, STA, Cadenasso, ML (2011) Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen in residential soils with different land-use histories. Ecosystems 14:287297
Rejmánek, M (2014) Invasive trees and shrubs: where do they come from and what we should expect in the future? Biol Invasions 16:483498
Richardson, DM, Rejmánek, M (2011) Trees and shrubs as invasive alien species—a global review. Divers Distrib 17:788809
Schradin, D, Cipollini, D (2012). The sign and strength of plant–soil feedback for the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, varies in different soils. Forests 3:903922
Scott, NA, Saggar, S, McIntosh, PD (2001) Biochemical impact of Hieracium invasion in New Zealand's grazed tussock grasslands: sustainability implications. Ecol Appl 11:13111332
Shannon, SM., Bauer, JT, Anderson, WE, Reynolds, HL (2014) Plant–soil feedbacks between invasive shrubs and native forest understory species lead to shifts in the abundance of mycorrhizal fungi. Plant Soil 382:317328
Simberloff, D (2011) How common are invasion-induced ecosystem impacts? Biol Invasions 13:12551268
Sitch, S, Smith, B, Prentice, IC, Arneth, A, Bondeau, A, Cramer, W, Kaplan, JO, Levis, S, Lucht, W, Sykes, MT, Thonicke, K, Venevski, S (2003) Evaluation of ecosystem dynamics, plant geography and terrestrial carbon cycling in LPJ dynamic global vegetation model. Glob Change Biol 9:161185
Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Web Survey. Accessed January 15, 2011
Stradling, D (2011) Mt. Airy Forest: one hundred years of conservation in the city. Ohio Valley Hist 11:2543
Stratton, GW, Stewart, KE (1991) Effects of the herbicide glyphosate on nitrogen cycling in an acid forest soil. Water Air Soil Poll 60:231247
Strayer, DL, Eviner, VT, Jeschke, JM, Pace, ML (2006) Understanding the long-term effects of species invasions. Trends Ecol Evol 21:645651
Trammell, TLE, Carreiro, MM (2011) Vegetation composition and structure of woody plant communities along urban interstate corridors in Louisville, KY, U.S.A. Urban Ecosyst 14:501524
Trammell, TLE, Ralston, HA, Scroggins, SA, Carreiro, MM (2012) Foliar production and decomposition rates in urban forests invaded by the exotic invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii . Biol Invasions 14:529545
Trammell, TLE, Schneid, BP, Carreiro, MM (2011) Forest soils adjacent to urban interstates: soil physical and chemical properties, heavy metals, disturbance legacies, and relationships with woody vegetation. Urban Ecosyst 14:525552
Townsend-Small, A, Czimczik, CI (2010) Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in urban turf. Geophys Res Lett 37: L02707. DOI: 10.1029/2009GL041675
[USDA NRCS] U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (2014) The PLANTS Database. Accessed October 31, 2014
van der Heijden, MGA, Bardgett, RD, van Straalen, NM (2008) The unseen majority: soil microbes as drivers of plant diversity and productivity in terrestrial ecosystems. Ecol Lett 11:296310
Vilà, M, Espinar, JL, Hejda, M, Hume, PE, Jaroŝík, V, Maron, JL, Pergl, J, Schaffnew, U, Sun, Y, Pyŝek, P (2011) Ecological impacts of invasive alien plants: a meta-analysis of their effects on species, communities, and ecosystems. Ecol Lett 14:702708
Vitousek, PM, D’Antonio, CM, Loope, LL, Rejmanek, M, Westbrooks, RZ (1997) Introduced species: a significant component of human-caused global change. N Z J Ecol 21:116
Vitousek, PM, Walker, LR (1989) Biological invasion by Myrica faya in Hawai'i: plant demography, nitrogen fixation, ecosystem effects. Ecol Monogr 59:247265
Watson, ME, Brown, JR (1998) pH and lime requirement. Pages 1316 in North Central Regional Res Pub 221:13-1688. Wageningen, Netherlands: International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement
Weidenhamer, JD, Callaway, RM (2010) Direct and indirect effects of invasive plants on soil chemistry and ecosystem function. J Chem Ecol 36:5969
Windam, L, Ehrenfeld, JG (2003) Net impact of a plant invasion on nitrogen-cycling processes within a brackish tidal marsh. Ecol Appl 13:883897



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed