ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2017, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 321–325. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2017.
Original Russian Text © A.P. Gusev, 2017, published in Ekologiya, 2017, No. 4, pp. 261–266.
Inhibition of Restorative Succession by Invasive Plant Species:
Examples from Southeastern Belarus
A. P. Gusev
Francisk Skorina Gomel State University, Gomel, 246019 Belarus
Received September 11, 2015
Abstract⎯Consideration is given to the examples of suppression of restorative succession by invasive plant
species (Solidago canadensis L., Helianthus subcanescens (A. Gray) E. Watson, Impatiens glandulifera Royle)
in anthropogenic landscapes of southeastern Belarus. Characteristics of communities blocking the succession
process have been revealed: low species richness, dominance of alien species in coverage, high level of synan-
thropization, and the absence of natural regeneration of trees and shrubs. It is suggested that a delay in suc-
cession is caused by the suppressing influence of transformer species on seed germination in apophytic trees.
Keywords: succession, anthropogenic landscape, invasive species, Solidago canadensis L., Helianthus subca-
nescens (A. Gray) E. Watson, Impatiens glandulifera Royle
Invasions by alien species have ecological conse-
quences such as reduction of crop yields, complication
of harvesting, decrease in meadow and pasture pro-
ductivity, negative effects on human health (allerge-
nicity, toxicity), transmission of crop diseases, etc.
Some invaders (transformers) can alter ecosystems as
a whole [1, 2] and, in particular, disrupt successional
connections, thereby inhibiting (blocking) autogenic
successions . Examples of disturbances in successional
processes caused by alien species can be found in the sci-
entific literature [4–6]. Analysis of the effect of invasive
species on successional processes is an important com-
ponent of their monitoring. However, practically no
research on the inhibition of successions by alien species
has been carried out in the territory of Belarus.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influ-
ence of alien plant species on restorative succession in
anthropogenic landscapes of southeastern Belarus.
The following tasks were set: to analyze the results of
repeated geobotanical surveys in permanent test plots; to
reveal the pattern of Solidago canadensis L. invasion in
communities representing initial stages of succession in
abandoned farmlands; to study changes in phytocenoses
dominated by Helianthus subcanescens (A. Gray) E. Wat-
son and Impatiens glandulifera Royle; to determine
characteristics of communities where the successional
process is suspended.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The study region is in southeastern Belarus (Gomel
and its vicinities). The climatic parameters of the
region are as follows: the average temperature of the
coldest month (January) is 7.0°C; the average tem-
perature of the warmest month (July) is 18.5°C; the
annual sum of temperatures above 10°C are 2479°C;
annual precipitation amount is 630 mm; humidity fac-
tor is 1.33. According to the hydrochemical parame-
ters, the territory belongs to subboreal humid (broad-
leaf forest) landscapes.
Studies were performed in three test areas:
I. Arable lands withdrawn from agriculture. Soils
are reclaimed sod-podzolic sandy loam underlain by
moraine loams at a depth of 2 m. The groundwater
level depth is 3 m. The time of succession onset is
2002. Repeated geobotanical surveys were performed
in five plots (5 × 5 m) in 2005, 2008, 2013, and 2015.
II. Arable lands withdrawn from agriculture. Soils
are sod-gley loam. The groundwater level depth is 1.5 m.
Repeated geobotanical surveys were performed in five
plots (5 × 5 m) in 2005 and 2015. The time of succes-
sion onset is 2000 (presumably).
III. A wasteland between the railway and low-rise
residential buildings. The soil cover is disturbed. The
groundwater level depth is 1 m. Repeated geobotanical
surveys were performed in eight plots (5 × 5 m) in 2005
and in six plots (5 × 5 m) in 2015. The time of succes-
sion onset is 1999–2000 (presumably).
These test areas lie within an anthropogenic land-
scape that combines a complex of low-rise residential
buildings, areas of industrial development, vegetable
gardens, transportation lines, tree plantations, hydrau-
lic facilities, and disturbed lands.