Special Issue "Impact of Invasive Species and Climate Change on Plant Biodiversity"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019) | Viewed by 1969

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Rui Bento Elias
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
cE3c – Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes / Azorean Biodiversity Group and Universidade dos Açores - Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e do Ambiente, Rua Capitão João d’Ávila, São Pedro, 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Azores, Portugal
Interests: climate change; forest ecology; invasive species; island biodiversity and conversation; plant community ecology; vegetation dynamics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Invasive alien species (IAS) and climate change are two of the main drivers of change in Earth's ecosystems. Globalization was responsible for the introduction of plant species in many areas of the world. The consequent increase in propagule pressure and ever-growing human-induced disturbances pose a serious threat to native ecosystems by promoting the spread of alien plant species. New threats, and their impacts, are also emerging from climate change. According to the IPCC, human activities have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels (possibly reaching 1.5°C by 2052). Global warming will have long-term effects on the climate system, including increasing mean temperatures, hot extremes, and changes in precipitation patterns. The consequences of all these changes to plant populations are already becoming perceptible and can be accessed through long-term monitoring. However, to better anticipate the effects of climate change we also have to rely on ecological modelling, in-situ, and ex-situ experiments. Climate change also brings new challenges for biodiversity conservation due to the expected consequences for the spread of some IAS. To understand the effects of IAS and climate change is crucial for ecological theory and conservation/management decision-making. While many advances have been made in the last two decades, there is a constant need to increase our knowledge about these drivers of global change and understand the complexity and dynamic nature of their impacts. This is the aim of this Special Issue: to highlight new research in understanding the impacts of IAS and climate change on plant biodiversity and identify possible solutions to mitigate expected impacts.

Dr. Rui Bento Elias
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Climate change
  • Ecological modelling
  • Ecological monitoring
  • Ex-situ experiments
  • Global change
  • In-situ experiments
  • Invasive alien species
  • Plant biodiversity.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Graminoid Invasion in an Insular Endemism Hotspot and Its Protected Areas
Diversity 2019, 11(10), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11100192 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1563
Invasive plant species are increasingly altering species composition and the functioning of ecosystems from a local to a global scale. The grass species Pennisetum setaceum has recently raised concerns as an invader on different archipelagos worldwide. Among these affected archipelagos are the Canary [...] Read more.
Invasive plant species are increasingly altering species composition and the functioning of ecosystems from a local to a global scale. The grass species Pennisetum setaceum has recently raised concerns as an invader on different archipelagos worldwide. Among these affected archipelagos are the Canary Islands, which are a hotspot of endemism. Consequently, conservation managers and stakeholders are interested in the potential spreading of this species in the archipelago. We identify the current extent of the suitable habitat for P. setaceum on the island of La Palma to assess how it affects island ecosystems, protected areas (PAs), and endemic plant species richness. We recorded in situ occurrences of P. setaceum from 2010 to 2018 and compiled additional ones from databases at a 500 m × 500 m resolution. To assess the current suitable habitat and possible distribution patterns of P. setaceum on the island, we built an ensemble model. We projected habitat suitability for island ecosystems and PAs and identified risks for total as well as endemic plant species richness. The suitable habitat for P. setaceum is calculated to cover 34.7% of the surface of La Palma. In open ecosystems at low to mid elevations, where native ecosystems are already under pressure by land use and human activities, the spread of the invader will likely lead to additional threats to endemic plant species. Forest ecosystems (e.g., broadleaved evergreen and coniferous forests) are not likely to be affected by the spread of P. setaceum because of its heliophilous nature. Our projection of suitable habitat of P. setaceum within ecosystems and PAs on La Palma supports conservationists and policymakers in prioritizing management and control measures and acts as an example for the potential threat of this graminoid invader on other islands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Invasive Species and Climate Change on Plant Biodiversity)
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