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Effects of Invasion of an Aspen Forest (Canada) by Dendrobaena Octaedra (Lumbricidae) on Plant Growth

Stefan Scheu and Dennis Parkinson
Ecology
Vol. 75, No. 8 (Dec., 1994), pp. 2348-2361
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/1940889
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1940889
Page Count: 14
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Effects of Invasion of an Aspen Forest (Canada) by Dendrobaena Octaedra (Lumbricidae) on Plant Growth
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Abstract

Effects of invasion of an aspen forest in the Canadian Rocky Mountains by the earthworm Dendrobaena octaedra (Savigny) on nutrient mineralization, soil microflora, and plant growth were investigated during the growth period of 1992. Experimental chambers with reconstructed forest floor were placed in the field and destructively sampled after 7 and 14 wk. D. octaedra enhanced the shoot biomass of the grass Agropyron trachycaulum (Link) Malte (Poaceae) and increased the shoot-to-root ratio during early plant growth. Microbial biomass, basal respiration and respiratory quotient "qCO"2 in L/F layer material were reduced by D. octaedra but increased in the H layer. The nutrient (NH"4^+, NO"3^-, PO"4^3^-) content in soil was also affected by D. octaedra but the effects were small. Effects of the earthworms on soil nutrient content were masked by the great variation in the data and by leaching of nutrients from experimental chambers.

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