Biological Invasions

, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 3605–3620 | Cite as

Identifying the ecological and societal consequences of a decline in Buxus forests in Europe and the Caucasus

  • Ruth MitchellEmail author
  • Savely Chitanava
  • Roman Dbar
  • Volodymyr Kramarets
  • Asko Lehtijärvi
  • Izolda Matchutadze
  • Giorgi Mamadashvili
  • Iryna Matsiakh
  • Saidou Nacambo
  • Irena Papazova-Anakieva
  • Shiroma Sathyapala
  • Boris Tuniyev
  • Gábor Vétek
  • Marine Zukhbaia
  • Marc Kenis
Original Paper


The potential impact of new invasive tree pests and diseases is usually quantified in economic terms. The ecological and social impacts are less often assessed. Using a comprehensive literature review we assess the potential ecological and social impact of two non-native invasive species (the box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis and the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata) that threaten the survival of box tree, Buxus spp. in forests in Europe and the Caucasus. A total of 132 fungi, 12 chromista (algae), 98 invertebrate and 44 lichens were found to use Buxus spp. Of these, 43 fungi, 3 chromista and 18 invertebrate species have only been recorded on Buxus spp., suggesting that these species are obligate on Buxus spp. and are most at risk from in the loss of Buxus spp. due to these invasive pest and disease species. Buxus spp. was shown to be important for soil stability and water quality but there was no information on other ecosystem functions provided by Buxus spp. Buxus was found to be of considerable historical cultural importance but there was very limited information on current social values and uses. Buxus trees, wood and leaves are associated with different folklore and sacred rites which are still particularly important in the Caucasus. While we could not find any assessment of the economic value of Buxus forests the biodiversity, cultural and social values of Buxus identified here indicate that its loss could have major indirect and non-market economic effects. This work highlights the importance of studying the ecological and societal implications of biological invasions.


Buxus balearica Buxus longifolia Buxus sempervirens Calonectria pseudonaviculata Cydalima perspectalis Non-native invasive 



We thank Tom Trier, Political Advisor to the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia (EUSR), for his continuous and warm support. This work was partially supported by the Federal Foreign Office Funds of the Federal Republic of Germany, Division AS-OSZE, and based on discussions taking place at workshops organised in Geneva, Brno and Vienna with the support of the EUSR, UNDP and the German and Austrian OSCE Chairmanships. This publication is also an output of two Cost Actions, Global Warning (FP1401) and Alien Challenge (TD1209). GV was partially supported by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. RJM was partially supported by the Strategic Research Programme of the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division. The British Lichen Society provided information on lichens occurring on Buxus in the UK.

The authors from the eastern Black Sea region are working for relevant bodies dealing with ecological issues and have contributed to this paper as part of joint undertakings to address the box tree issue. These efforts take place in a conflict sensitive environment where political-administrative status issues are disputed. Place names in the Eastern Black Sea region, some of which may have status connotations, have therefore been omitted. This paper focusses on the impacts of a decline in Buxus spp. and its terminology and language or use of specific names or titles do in no way imply any position with respect to status issues and the conflicts in this area.

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1799_MOESM1_ESM.docx (48 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 57 kb)
10530_2018_1799_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (94 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 97 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Mitchell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Savely Chitanava
    • 2
  • Roman Dbar
    • 3
  • Volodymyr Kramarets
    • 7
  • Asko Lehtijärvi
    • 4
  • Izolda Matchutadze
    • 5
  • Giorgi Mamadashvili
    • 6
  • Iryna Matsiakh
    • 7
  • Saidou Nacambo
    • 8
  • Irena Papazova-Anakieva
    • 9
  • Shiroma Sathyapala
    • 10
  • Boris Tuniyev
    • 11
  • Gábor Vétek
    • 12
  • Marine Zukhbaia
    • 13
  • Marc Kenis
    • 8
  1. 1.The James Hutton InstituteAberdeenUK
  2. 2.Committee for Ecology
  3. 3.Institute of EcologyAcademy of Sciences
  4. 4.Faculty of ForestryBursa Technical University
  5. 5.Institute of Phytopathology and BiodiversityBatumi Shota Rustaveli State University
  6. 6.Forest Maintenance and Reforestation Division, Forest Inventory and Regeneration DepartmentNational Forestry Agency
  7. 7.Institute of Forestry and Park GardeningUkrainian National Forestry UniversityLvivUkraine
  8. 8.CABIDelémontSwitzerland
  9. 9.Faculty of ForestryUniversity ‘Ss Cyril and Methodius’ - SkopjeSkopjeRepublic of Macedonia
  10. 10.Forestry DepartmentFood and Agriculture OrganizationRomeItaly
  11. 11.Scientific Department of the Federal State Institution Sochi National Park
  12. 12.Department of EntomologySzent István UniversityBudapestHungary
  13. 13.The Greens Movement

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