Invasions by alien plants have been mapped in Europe

Jan 22, 2009

Biological invasions are one of the major threats to biodiversity and in many cases they have considerable impact on economy and human health. For their effective management it is important to understand which areas and ecosystems are at the highest risk of being invaded.

The first map of the level of alien plant invasions in European Union was published in the Wiley-Blackwell journal Diversity and Distributions.

An international team of Czech, Spanish and British plant ecologists investigated species composition of vegetation in more than 50 000 sites in northwestern, southern and central Europe. In each of these sites they quantified the proportion of alien to native plant species.

"We found that the highest risk of alien plant invasions was in agricultural and urban ecosystems. Low levels of invasion were in natural and semi-natural grasslands and most woodlands, and the lowest levels in the Mediterranean evergreen vegetation, heathlands and peatlands. This pattern was quite consistent among European regions with contrasting climates, biogeography, history and socio-economic background", said senior author Milan Chytrý from Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.

"The level of plant invasions basically depends on the distribution of different ecosystem types across Europe. High levels of invasion are typical of lowland areas of western and central Europe while low levels are found in northern Europe and mountain regions across the continent. Low levels of invasion also occur in the Mediterranean region except its coastline and irrigated fields", added Petr Pyšek from the Institute of Botany Průhonice, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: New conversion process turns biomass 'waste' into lucrative chemical products (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wetlands more vulnerable to invasives as climate changes

Dec 09, 2014

In the battle between native and invasive wetland plants, a new Duke University study finds climate change may tip the scales in favor of the invaders—but it's going to be more a war of attrition than a frontal assault.

Researchers get a rabbit's-eye view

Dec 03, 2014

As the two foolish pigs learned before running to their brother's solidly built house of bricks for safety, when the wolf comes calling, the quality of your shelter is everything.

Calcium loss turning lakes to 'jelly'

Nov 18, 2014

New research on a number of Canadian lakes show that historical acid deposits as a result of industry have greatly reduced calcium levels in the water - dramatically impacting populations of calcium-rich ...

A thousand years of environmental change in Polynesia

Nov 14, 2014

Environmental change is nothing new in Polynesia. For centuries, the inhabitants of the volcanic, sea-battered islands have been employing a variety of strategies to adapt to their changing landscapes.

Recommended for you

Protections blocked, but sage grouse work goes on

7 hours ago

(AP)—U.S. wildlife officials will decide next year whether a wide-ranging Western bird species needs protections even though Congress has blocked such protections from taking effect, Interior Secretary ...

Contrasting views of kin selection assessed

9 hours ago

In an article to be published in the January issue of BioScience, two philosophers tackle one of the most divisive arguments in modern biology: the value of the theory of "kin selection."

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.