‘’Impact of alien sea buckthorn on native vegetation and soil characteristics of the Fylde Coast sand dune complex’’

Borowski, Tomasz (2012) ‘’Impact of alien sea buckthorn on native vegetation and soil characteristics of the Fylde Coast sand dune complex’’. [Dissertation]

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The impact of invasive non-native sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) on sand dune soil characteristics was investigated. The whole project was undertaken at St Annes Nature Reserve, where large areas covered by this plant were indentified. The soil characteristic of samples obtained underneath areas covered by native grassland, and areas covered by sea buckthorn were examined. Soil parameters including organic matter content, soil moisture content, pH, calcium carbonate content and exchangeable bases content were examined, enabling comparison of two investigated sites. Additionally, earthworm species were
sampled and identified in order to support the actual changes to the soil quality. Sea buckthorn spread across the Fylde Coast sand dune complex is considered as a threat to the susceptible successional habitat supporting rare species. The investigation showed that, there is a slight, in terms of soil quality, but statistically significant difference between researched areas for each parameter (p<0.05). The increased amount of organic matter from decaying sea buckthorn remnants and nitrogen-fixation activity significantly influences the soil structure and main characteristic. The increased distribution and abundance of earthworm species predominately dominated by Lumbricus rubellus underneath sea buckthorn, indicates the differentiation of soil quality. The results obtained, do not prove the negative impact on soil quality, as the stabilisation and fertilisation must be classed as a positive influence. The sand dune species bio-diversity decease is considered as a major concern related to the sea buckthorn, especially on protected sites like St Annes Nature Reserve.

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