Special Issue "Management and Application of Invasive Plant Species"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2023 | Viewed by 7037

Special Issue Editors

Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: plant anatomy; plant interactions; invasive plants; oxidative stress; genome size
UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and UCD Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Interests: ecosystem greenhouse gas emissions and their mitigation; carbon sequestration; climate change; invasive plants; underutilized crop species; crop productivity
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: invasive plants; plant systematics; Myosotis; Epilobium; bryophytes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Invasive alien plant species (IAPS) are recognised as significant threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functions, some of them even to human health and the economy. Thus, it is understandable that IAPS are the subject of numerous studies. Information about their ecology, reproduction, development, and interactions with other organisms is critical to understanding the mechanisms behind their invasive success. This basic knowledge is also essential for early recognition of new potential invaders and assessing the risk of their invasion. However, many IAPS have already been successfully established and spread in the new environment. In these cases, we need methods to limit their spread and invasion and for their eradication. Sharing successful practices and choosing the proper method for each specific situation could spare costs and time.

Additionally, there is still little known about the safe disposal of IAPS after the eradication. Numerous suggestions can be found on the Internet, but they are mostly based on practical experience rather than scientific experimentation. The most recommended disposal methods are disposing of the plant material in the litter, burning, composting, air drying, constructing brush piles, and burying.

However, the recent awareness of zero-waste and circular economy coupled with scientific research shows that the collected plant material could be used as raw material for various products, such as paper, wood products, pigments, biopesticides, etc. Such an approach is much more sustainable than the traditional disposal of plant material.

In this Special Issue of the journal Plants, we welcome research and review papers regarding all four mentioned aspects:

- Research that would help us predict the introduction of new potentially invasive plants and prevent their naturalisation and spread,

- successful management practices for dealing with invasive plants that are already established in the new environment,

- research on effective and environmentally friendly disposal methods, and

- the presentation of best practices for using eradicated invasive plants as a source of raw material for sustainable products.

Dr. Jasna Dolenc Koce
Prof. Dr. Bruce Osborne
Dr. Simona Strgulc Krajšek 
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 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.

Keywords

  • invasive alien plant species
  • IAPS
  • ecology
  • plant interactions
  • plant reproduction
  • management practice
  • plant product
  • risk assessment
  • allelopathy
  • biocontrol

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Using Plant Functional Traits to Define the Biomass Energy Potential of Invasive Alien Plant Species
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3198; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183198 - 07 Sep 2023
Viewed by 277
Abstract
The eradication of invasive alien plant species (IAPS) is mandatory worldwide, but the resulting biomass is still considered waste. The energy use of biomasses obtained from IAPS eradication may represent ecological and economic benefits, creating synergies with restoration projects. We evaluated whether the [...] Read more.
The eradication of invasive alien plant species (IAPS) is mandatory worldwide, but the resulting biomass is still considered waste. The energy use of biomasses obtained from IAPS eradication may represent ecological and economic benefits, creating synergies with restoration projects. We evaluated whether the growth forms and functional types identified using the functional space of 63 IAPS corresponded to a possible bioenergy use through multivariate analysis techniques. We extracted leaf and nutrient traits and Grime’s CSR plant strategies from an existing database. We calculated the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N) and gross heating value (GHV) as indicators of biochemical or thermal processes, respectively. For 10 species, we measured the above-ground biomass C:N and GHV (including leaves, stems and branches) and correlated them with those of leaves and with plant adaptive strategies. We identified four groups of IAPS indicative of the main trade-offs between plant economics and size variation, which respectively correlated with C:N and GHV. Herbaceous IAPS were better suited to biochemical processes, and woody IAPS to thermal ones. Overall, Grime’s CSR strategies were the best tool to define the IAPS bioenergy potential. In the long term, competitive and ruderal IAPSs can represent a reusable feedstock until their complete eradication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Application of Invasive Plant Species)
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Article
Seed Germination of Invasive Phytolacca americana and Potentially Invasive P. acinosa
Plants 2023, 12(5), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12051052 - 26 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1109
Abstract
Phytolacca americana and P. acinosa are alien plant species in Europe. The former is considered invasive and more widespread. In order to develop effective and safe eradication and plant disposal methods, the present research focused on the seed germination of the two species. [...] Read more.
Phytolacca americana and P. acinosa are alien plant species in Europe. The former is considered invasive and more widespread. In order to develop effective and safe eradication and plant disposal methods, the present research focused on the seed germination of the two species. Fruits of different ripeness of both species were collected (fresh and dry seeds within and without pericarp), after which both the germination and maturation were tested. We also tested the continued maturing of fruits on cut plants and observed the development of fruits on whole plants with a cut taproot (in addition to when only the upper part of the stem with fruit racemes was cut off). In general, the seeds germinated from all stages of fruit ripeness, although the germination of dry seeds was better compared to fresh seeds. P. americana’s seeds germinated better and the fruit ripening on cut plants was also more successful compared to P. acinosa. These results could partly explain the invasive success of P. americana. According to our results, removing all fruiting plants from the eradication site is crucial regardless of the fruit development stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Application of Invasive Plant Species)
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Article
Diversity and Typology of Land-Use Explain the Occurrence of Alien Plants in a Protected Area
Plants 2022, 11(18), 2358; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11182358 - 09 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Plant life history and functional characteristics play an important role in determining the invasive potential of plant species and have implications for management approaches. We studied the distribution of 24 alien plant taxa in a protected area in relation to different land-uses by [...] Read more.
Plant life history and functional characteristics play an important role in determining the invasive potential of plant species and have implications for management approaches. We studied the distribution of 24 alien plant taxa in a protected area in relation to different land-uses by applying ordination analyses and generalized linear models. Taxa richness is best explained by the presence of built-up areas, followed by residential areas, marshlands, and agricultural lands with semi-natural formations. The diversity of land-use within the grid cell proved to be an important explanatory factor, being the only significant variable explaining the richness of wood perennials and vines. The richness of annual herbs and seed-dispersed taxa is explained by a similar set of variables, with the exception of residential areas. The richness of invasive species is explained only by agricultural land and the diversity of land-use. The richness of taxa with predominant vegetative dispersal is best explained by built-up, marshland, and seminatural areas along with land-use diversity. When we consider only the presence of plant groups within grid cells, the results are similar. The results of similar studies may provide an important tool for defining sustainable practices and overall conservation management in protected areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Application of Invasive Plant Species)
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Article
Post-Invasion Recovery of Plant Communities Colonised by Gunnera tinctoria after Mechanical Removal or Herbicide Application and Its Interaction with an Extreme Weather Event
Plants 2022, 11(9), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11091224 - 30 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
The interventions that are required for both the control and post-invasion restoration of native plant communities depends on several factors, including the efficacy of the measures that are used and how these interact with environmental factors. Here, we report on the results of [...] Read more.
The interventions that are required for both the control and post-invasion restoration of native plant communities depends on several factors, including the efficacy of the measures that are used and how these interact with environmental factors. Here, we report on the results of an experiment on the effects of mechanical removal and herbicide application on the invasive plant Gunnera tinctoria and how an extreme weather event impacted on the invader and on the recovery of native coastal grassland communities. Both removal protocols were largely effective in eradicating mature plants, but the mechanical removal treatment resulted in a major increase in the number of G. tinctoria seedlings, which was exacerbated by the extreme event. Nine months after removal, the number of native species had recovered to c. 80% of that in uninvaded grasslands. In contrast to seedlings, mature plants of G. tinctoria showed a significant reduction in above-ground production after the extreme weather event, although these had largely recovered after six months. Overall, our results indicate that post-control restoration of the plant community may be possible without further significant management interventions. Nevertheless, since some invasive plants survived, further monitoring is required to ensure that recolonisation does not occur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Application of Invasive Plant Species)
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Article
Using Consensus Land Cover Data to Model Global Invasive Tree Species Distributions
Plants 2022, 11(7), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11070981 - 04 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1149
Abstract
Invasive tree species threaten ecosystems, natural resources, and managed land worldwide. Land cover has been widely used as an environmental variable for predicting global invasive tree species distributions. Recent studies have shown that consensus land cover data can be an effective tool for [...] Read more.
Invasive tree species threaten ecosystems, natural resources, and managed land worldwide. Land cover has been widely used as an environmental variable for predicting global invasive tree species distributions. Recent studies have shown that consensus land cover data can be an effective tool for species distribution modelling. In this paper, consensus land cover data were used as prediction variables to predict the distribution of the 11 most aggressive invasive tree species globally. We found that consensus land cover data could indeed contribute to modelling the distribution of invasive tree species. According to the contribution rate of land cover to the distribution of invasive tree species, we inferred that the cover classes of open water and evergreen broadleaf trees have strong explanatory power regarding the distribution of invasive tree species. Under consensus land cover changes, invasive tree species were mainly distributed near equatorial, tropical, and subtropical areas. In order to limit the damage caused by invasive tree species to global biodiversity, human life, safety, and the economy, strong measures must be implemented to prevent the further expansion of invasive tree species. We suggest the use of consensus land cover data to model global invasive tree species distributions, as this approach has strong potential to enhance the performance of species distribution modelling. Our study provides new insights into the risk assessment and management of invasive tree species globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Application of Invasive Plant Species)
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Article
Prescriptions for the Control of a Clonal Invasive Species Using Demographic Models
Plants 2022, 11(5), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11050689 - 03 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Until recently, little research has focused on determination of the population dynamics of invasive species and evaluating their genetic variation. Consequently, not much is known of what drives clonal invasive species and their demography. Here, we describe the population dynamics of Kalanchoe delagoensis [...] Read more.
Until recently, little research has focused on determination of the population dynamics of invasive species and evaluating their genetic variation. Consequently, not much is known of what drives clonal invasive species and their demography. Here, we describe the population dynamics of Kalanchoe delagoensis (Crassulaceae), considered invasive to several countries. We quantified the demography of a population in central Mexico using integral projection models (IPM) in a population that reproduced asexually exclusively through plantlets. The effect of clonal recruitment on population growth rate (λ) was evaluated by changing plantlet survival and simulating management scenarios that used previous data of watering and seven experimental herbicide treatments. The finite rate of population increase indicated that this Kalanchoe delagoensis population is growing (above one) and with water availability, growth rates will only accelerate. The IPM showed that plantlet survival and recruitment were the most critical steps in the cycle for the population, and simulations of different management scenarios showed that reducing plantlet survival significantly decreased λ only in two out of the seven herbicides used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Application of Invasive Plant Species)
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