Nonnative plant species are considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, yet we still are unable to predict how production and diversity of a community will change once a species has invaded. Ponderosa pine woodlands in the Front Range of Colorado are ideal for studying the impacts of nonnative plants on production and species richness. We selected 5 sites along the northern Front Range with varying proportions of nonnative and native species and compared understory production and species richness along the gradient of nonnative species dominance. Total species production was positively and significantly related to total species richness, and total species production increased significantly with increasing nonnative species richness. There was a negative relationship between native and nonnative species production, and there was no relationship between nonnative species richness and native species richness. This study demonstrates the complex nature of species richness and productivity relationships and should serve as a starting point for future research in which a variety of other variables are considered.
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Vol. 70 • No. 3