Special Issue "Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Protection and Biotic Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 8387

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Anastasia Christopoulou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Faculty of Fine Arts, Nicolaus Copernicus University, 87-100 Toruń, Poland
Interests: dendrochronology; dendroarchaeology; ecology; forest ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Ioannis Bazos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Section of Ecology and Systematics, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784 Athens, Greece
Interests: plant biodiversity; phytogeography; plant conservation; biodiversity monitoring and assessment; vegetation ecology; protected areas; alien plants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Mr. Andreas Zikos
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Section of Ecology and Systematics, Department of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784 Athens, Greece
Interests: plant biodiversity; terrestrial ecosystems; protected areas; habitat types; vegetation; endemism; phytogeography; plant conservation; alien plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Invasive alien species (IAS) represent one of the most significant threats to biodiversity globally by inducing species extinctions and alterations to ecosystems’ structure and functions, impeding the provision of ecosystem services, or even resulting in negative socio-economic impacts. Introductions of alien species have accelerated in recent decades due to the rapid globalization and intensification of human activities, while the degradation and destruction of natural ecosystems as well as climate change increase the risk of new introductions and expansions of the distribution of alien species.

Although alien plant species constitute one of the most numerous groups of non-indigenous species in several regions (e.g., in Europe) and have been found to be the greatest continuous threat to protected areas, they are commonly underestimated, especially concerning management and control programs.

Protected areas play a key role in biodiversity conservation, hosting several significant and rare habitats and species and providing numerous ecosystem services. Nevertheless, they are still facing various pressures and threats, many of which are not properly managed. Their enhancement against biological invasion is of paramount importance, especially under the risk of climate change, which is expected to favor the establishment and expansion of invasive alien plants in new habitats and areas.

This Special Issue aims to contribute to the existing knowledge concerning the presence and current status of invasive alien plants within protected areas, their impact on ecosystems and their management.

Dr. Anastasia Christopoulou
Dr. Ioannis Bazos
Mr. Andreas Zikos
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • biological invasions
  • natural ecosystems
  • exotic species
  • naturalized population
  • invasion risk
  • national parks/ protected areas

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Response of Five Miscanthus sinensis Cultivars to Grasshopper Herbivory: Implications for Monitoring of Invasive Grasses in Protected Areas
Plants 2022, 11(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11010053 - 25 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1767
Abstract
Introduced grasses can aggressively expand their range and invade native habitats, including protected areas. Miscanthus sinensis is an introduced ornamental grass with 100+ cultivars of various invasive potential. Previous studies have demonstrated that the invasive potential of M. sinensis cultivars may be linked [...] Read more.
Introduced grasses can aggressively expand their range and invade native habitats, including protected areas. Miscanthus sinensis is an introduced ornamental grass with 100+ cultivars of various invasive potential. Previous studies have demonstrated that the invasive potential of M. sinensis cultivars may be linked to seed viability, and some of the physiological traits, such as growth rate. Little is known, however, about whether these traits are associated with response of M. sinensis to insect herbivory, and whether plant tolerance and resistance to herbivory vary among its cultivars; which, in turn, can contribute to the invasive potential of some of M. sinensis cultivars. To address this issue, in our study we explored the response of five cultivars of M. sinensis to herbivory by Melanoplus grasshoppers. We demonstrated that plant responses varied among the cultivars during a season; all the cultivars, but “Zebrinus”, demonstrated a significant increase in plant tolerance by the end of the growing season regardless of the amount of sustained leaf damage. Different patterns in plant responses from “solid green” and “striped/spotted” varieties were recorded, with the lowest plant resistance detected for “Autumn Anthem” in the cage experiment. Our results have important applications for monitoring low-risk invaders in protected areas, as well as for biotic resistance of native communities to invasive grasses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas)
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Article
Natura 2000 Areas, Road, Railway, Water, and Ecological Networks May Provide Pathways for Biological Invasion: A Country Scale Analysis
Plants 2021, 10(12), 2670; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10122670 - 04 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1632
Abstract
Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity worldwide. Controlling their rapid spread can only be effective if we consider the geographical factors that influence their occurrence. For instance, roads, railway networks, green and blue infrastructure, and elements of ecological networks (e.g., ecological [...] Read more.
Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity worldwide. Controlling their rapid spread can only be effective if we consider the geographical factors that influence their occurrence. For instance, roads, railway networks, green and blue infrastructure, and elements of ecological networks (e.g., ecological corridors) can facilitate the spread of invasive species. In our study, we mapped the occurrence of five invasive plant taxa (tree of heaven, common milkweed, Russian olive, black locust, and goldenrods) in Hungary, using field photos from the EUROSTAT Land Use and Coverage Area Frame Survey (LUCAS) database from the year 2015. Species point occurrence data were compared with the spatial characteristics of linear transport infrastructure and with the green and blue infrastructure. We found that the occurrence of tree of heaven and Russian olive was strongly related to the road and railway network. The average Euclidean distance of LUCAS points infected with these species from railway embankments and roads was much smaller than that of uninfected points. However, black locust and goldenrods were more common only along the road network. According to our results, the occurrence of some investigated invasive plants was over-represented in the HEN and within Natura 2000 areas of Hungary compared to non-infected points. Our results may provide important information for predicting the rate of invasion and for applying targeted management within the HEN, and Natura 2000 protected areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas)
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Article
How Effective Are the Protected Areas of the Natura 2000 Network in Halting Biological Invasions? A Case Study in Greece
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2113; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102113 - 05 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2158
Abstract
Invasive alien plant species represent an important threat to various protected areas of the world, and this threat expected to be further enhanced due to climate change. This is also the case for the most important network of protected areas in Europe, the [...] Read more.
Invasive alien plant species represent an important threat to various protected areas of the world, and this threat expected to be further enhanced due to climate change. This is also the case for the most important network of protected areas in Europe, the Natura 2000 network. In the current study we evaluated the distribution pattern of alien plant taxa across selected continental and insular Natura 2000 sites in Greece and their potential spread 15 years since first being recorded in the field. A total of seventy-three naturalized plant taxa were recorded in the 159 sites under study. At the site level and regardless of the habitat group, the ratio of invaded areas increased between the two monitoring campaigns. An increase in the ratio of invaded plots was also detected for all habitat groups, except for grassland and riparian—wetland habitats. Precipitation during the dry quarter of the year was the factor that mainly controlled the occurrence and spread of alien plant taxa regardless of the site and habitat group. It is reasonable to say that the characterization of an area as protected may not be sufficient without having implemented the proper practices for halting biological invasions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas)
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Article
Herbicide-Resistant Invasive Plant Species Ludwigia decurrens Walter
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1973; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091973 - 21 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1503
Abstract
Ludwigia decurrens Walter is a dicotyledonous plant belonging to the family Onagraceae. It is native to Central Eastern USA but has been spreading quickly and has naturalized in aquatic and riparian ecosystems (including rice paddy fields) in many countries; therefore, it is now [...] Read more.
Ludwigia decurrens Walter is a dicotyledonous plant belonging to the family Onagraceae. It is native to Central Eastern USA but has been spreading quickly and has naturalized in aquatic and riparian ecosystems (including rice paddy fields) in many countries; therefore, it is now considered an invasive noxious weed. L. decurrens is highly competitive with rice and causes a significant reduction in rice production. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of the herbicide penoxsulam for the control of L. decurrens in rice fields. The seeds of L. decurrens were collected from four villages in Indonesia, and penoxsulam was applied to L. decurrens in seven dosages (0, 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 g a.i. ha−1) 3 weeks after seed sowing. The plant populations from Hegarmanah, Jatisari, and Joho showed complete mortality at the recommended dosage of penoxsulam (10 g a.i. ha−1). However, the plants from Demakan grew, flowered, and produced seeds 56 days after treatment with 40 g a.i. ha−1 of penoxsulam. The resistance index value of the population was 36.06. This is the first report of a penoxsulam-resistant weed from a dicotyledonous plant species and also the first report of a herbicide-resistant population of L. decurrens. The appearance of herbicide-resistant L. decurrens is a serious issue from both an environmental and an economic perspective, especially since protected forest and freshwater ecosystems are located at a short distance from the study area. Further research is needed to evaluate herbicide mixtures and/or the rotation of herbicide action sites. The identification of the penoxsulam-resistance mechanism in L. decurrens is also necessary to develop a herbicide resistance management strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas)
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