Plant Invasions across Scales

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 1485

Special Issue Editors

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Horvatovac 102A, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: terrestrial ecosystems; ecology; biodiversity; invasive plants; spatial analyses
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, Koroška cesta 160, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
Interests: ecology; biodiversity; invasive species; plant ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The first comprehensive global report on invasive alien species and their control, published in September 2023 by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), reveals threatening insights on the topic. The report states there are 37,000 established alien species introduced by human activities around the world, with 200 new species every year. Out of 3,500 invasive alien species that have negative impacts on nature and humans, as much as 1,061 are plants. As primary producers and constituents of the majority of habitats, the impacts of invasive plants can be very complex and far-reaching across trophic chains and guilds. Furthermore, unlike animals that can actively search for suitable habitats to invade, plants have to cope with various environmental/habitat filters once their diaspores (seeds or vegetative parts) end in a certain location. In case plant species can adapt to the environmental constraints in that location, the case of whether further spread and invasion will take place is dependent on the characteristics of the surrounding environment (e.g., the type of habitat, the level of heterogeneity, the type and intensity of disturbance, etc.). Regardless of whether we analyse these dependencies on a large scale (i.e., with mostly coarser spatial resolution) or a small scale (i.e., with finer spatial resolution), we can identify different processes, factors, and patterns as significant. For that reason, in this Special Issue, we would like to gather manuscripts across different spatial scales that deal with different phases of invasion from the population/community/ecosystem perspective.

Prof. Dr. Sven Jelaska
Dr. Nina Sajna
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • invasive plants
  • biodiversity
  • abundance
  • distribution
  • ecology
  • habitats
  • disturbance
  • spatial analyses
  • modelling

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 1681 KiB  
Article
Silvicultural Practices for Diversity Conservation and Invasive Species Suppression in Forest Ecosystems of the Bundala National Park, Sri Lanka
Plants 2024, 13(1), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13010121 - 31 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Forest ecosystems in Sri Lanka are under pressure from intensive human activity and climate change. Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to autochthonous species and ecosystems. In Bundala National Park of Sri Lanka, there are efforts to control and limit the [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystems in Sri Lanka are under pressure from intensive human activity and climate change. Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to autochthonous species and ecosystems. In Bundala National Park of Sri Lanka, there are efforts to control and limit the spreading of unwanted invasive Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC. and Opuntia dillenii (Ker-Gawl.) Haw., which poses a significant risk to natural ecosystem conservation. Nine different treatment variants (four replications) were used to test which management approach provides the control of Prosopis juliflora. This research is based on nine repeated measurements from 2017 to 2021 on 36 permanent research plots (each 625 m2) with 27 observed plant species and a total of 90,651 recorded plant individuals. The results confirmed that the dynamics of species richness, heterogeneity, and evenness showed significant differences between treatments during the five years of dynamics. The lowest species diversity was found in the control variant, followed by treatments based on the hard pruning and thinning of Prosopis juliflora trees. In contrast, strategies emphasizing the complete uprooting of Prosopis juliflora trees, replanting, and support of the natural regeneration of native species showed high species diversity and a high overall number of plant species. Generally, treatments had a significant effect on species diversity and the number of individuals of Prosopis juliflora, while changes in the overall number of plant species were more affected by time and succession. Silvicultural treatments including pruning, uprooting, and thinning have proven to be essential tools for nature conservation across various sites, aimed at enhancing habitat diversity in the face of ongoing climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Invasions across Scales)
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17 pages, 5353 KiB  
Article
Projected Impacts of Climate Change on the Range Expansion of the Invasive Straggler Daisy (Calyptocarpus vialis) in the Northwestern Indian Himalayan Region
Plants 2024, 13(1), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13010068 - 25 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Human-induced climate change modifies plant species distribution, reorganizing ecologically suitable habitats for invasive species. In this study, we identified the environmental factors that are important for the spread of Calyptocarpus vialis, an emerging invasive weed in the northwestern Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), [...] Read more.
Human-induced climate change modifies plant species distribution, reorganizing ecologically suitable habitats for invasive species. In this study, we identified the environmental factors that are important for the spread of Calyptocarpus vialis, an emerging invasive weed in the northwestern Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), along with possible habitats of the weed under current climatic scenarios and potential range expansion under several representative concentration pathways (RCPs) using MaxEnt niche modeling. The prediction had a high AUC (area under the curve) value of 0.894 ± 0.010 and a remarkable correlation between the test and expected omission rates. BIO15 (precipitation seasonality; 38.8%) and BIO1 (annual mean temperature; 35.7%) had the greatest impact on the probable distribution of C. vialis, followed by elevation (11.7%) and landcover (6.3%). The findings show that, unlike the current situation, “high” and “very high” suitability areas would rise while less-suited habitats would disappear. All RCPs (2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5) indicate the expansion of C. vialis in “high” suitability areas, but RCP 4.5 predicts contraction, and RCPs 2.6, 6.0, and 8.5 predict expansion in “very high” probability areas. The current distribution of C. vialis is 21.59% of the total area of the state, with “medium” to “high” invasion suitability, but under the RCP 8.5 scenario, it might grow by 10% by 2070. The study also reveals that C. vialis may expand its niche at both lower and higher elevations. This study clarifies how bioclimatic and topographic factors affect the dispersion of invasive species in the biodiverse IHR. Policymakers and land-use managers can utilize the data to monitor C. vialis hotspots and develop scientifically sound management methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Invasions across Scales)
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