Effects of exotic guava (Psidium guajava L.) invasion on soil properties in Limpopo, South Africa
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Many studies in South Africa have examined the impacts of alien plants on ecosystems, but none have assessed the impact of guava (Psidium guajava L.) invasion on soil properties. In this study, soils underneath guava‐invaded sites were assessed to determine if they had different soil physico‐chemical properties (pH, P, C, N, Na, K, Ca, Mg, moisture, penetration resistance, infiltration and water repellency) as compared to soils underneath uninvaded sites. Comparisons were made from three different sites over three autumn months. Results show that soil pH was significantly (p < 0.005) higher underneath uninvaded than guava‐invaded sites. Soil P was three times higher underneath guava‐invaded as compared to invaded sites. The soils collected underneath guava‐invaded sites had a significantly (p < 0.001) higher moisture content and were less compact but more repellent than soils from the uninvaded sites. Infiltration rate was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in the uninvaded than the guava‐invaded sites. The study concludes that guava invasion alters some soil properties, thus creating favourable conditions for its growth and making it potentially more invasive. From a management standpoint, guava removal is encouraged; however, given guava's socio‐economic importance more research on cost and benefits is required.
- RESEARCH: Ruwanza, S