As anthropogenic pressure on the landscape increases, invasive alien species (IAS) pose a growing threat to areas designed to protect high biodiversity habitats. In order to assess the present danger of IAS spread, we examined 23 Czech sites of community importance (SCI) within Natura 2000 protected areas (PA) over 2015 and mapped the occurrence of four IAS: Solidago spp. (goldenrod), Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan balsam), Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant hogweed) and Fallopia spp. (Japanese knotweed). The model areas were divided into five monitoring zones, graded by conservation importance and habitat disturbance level (core area [A], broader core area [B], semi-natural habitat [C], anthropogenically affected habitat [D], anthropogenically degraded habitat [E]). Despite a high number of IAS occurrences (3222 localities), habitats of European importance (zone A) showed a relatively low level of invasion (< 0.3% total area). Highest IAS occurrence number was in SCI border areas and disturbed habitats (zones C and E). There was a significant positive correlation between level of invasion inside and outside SCIs, related to human activities such as logging and urbanisation. A strong effect for watercourse vicinity was noted for the occurrence of I. glandulifera and Fallopia spp.; but not for H. mantegazzianum and Solidago spp. A stratified management approach, employing zones delimitation to assess what threat pose IAS to the PA objects of conservation, can be useful to prioritize control measures in IAS local action plans.
Biodiversity and Conservation – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 23, 2018
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