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Keys to the invasion of plant species in Europe revealed

The invasive species not only reduce the biodiversity of our natural environment, they spread diseases or cause severe annoyances in our society, but they also cause millionaire economic damages.

According to a study carried out jointly by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), in 2017 these economic losses amounted to 12 billion euros in Europe, while Spain spends more than 50 million euros solely for its extraction mechanical, without taking into account other damage to agriculture, livestock and protected natural areas.

Spanish participation has consisted of analyzing some 11,000 native species and 600 introduced in Europe to determine the dispersive characteristics of their fruits and seeds.

Now an international work in which researchers from 27 countries have participated and published in the journal PNAS indicates that “local abundance, geographical extension and ecological breadth are three dimensions that have been identified in invasive plants such as tropical seaweed, the australian black acacia or the american camalot that confirm their success as invasive species ”, indicates Pablo Vargas, CSIC researcher at the Real Jardín Botánico (RJB) in Madrid, who has participated in this study.

The same study points out that invasive species share many characteristics with the conditions that native species need to thrive.

The botanical participation of the RJB-CSIC has consisted of analyzing some 11,000 native species and 600 introduced in Europe to determine the dispersive characteristics of its fruits and seeds. “Despite the fact that many fruits and seeds have certain characteristics that favor their natural long-distance dispersal, they do not seem to have been favored in the expansion of invasive species. On the contrary, dispersal mediated by human activities have been more decisive ”, specified Vargas.

Already in 2018, Vargas alerted the Congress of Deputies about the serious consequences of the biological invasions. During his appearance, the RJB-CSIC researcher drew attention to the catastrophic consequences that certain invasive species have caused, continue to cause and will cause, if not remedied, in biodiversity, health and the Spanish economy.

Reference:

Trevor S. Fristoe et al. “Dimensions of invasiveness: links between abundance, geographic range size and habitat breadth in Europe’s alien and native floras.” PNAS

Source: RJB-CSIC

Rights: Creative Commons.

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