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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 2789–2807 | Cite as

Combining asset- and species-led alien plant management priorities in the world’s most intact Mediterranean-climate landscape

  • Carl R. Gosper
  • Suzanne M. Prober
  • Colin J. Yates
  • John K. Scott
Original Paper

Abstract

Minimising the spread and impact of alien plants is a crucial component of land management for biodiversity conservation. Alien plant management typically focuses on either controlling selected alien species (‘species-led’), or on minimizing invasions within selected biodiversity or cultural assets (‘asset-led’). Here, we compare and combine species- and asset-led approaches to prioritise alien plant management activities in the world’s largest Mediterranean-climate woodland, located in south-western Australia. Our species-led approach focused on identifying aliens likely to be increasingly problematic in future with a changing climate. Our asset-led approach used comprehensive flora survey data to identify key predictors of contemporary alien presence, with the purpose of minimising alien occurrence across the asset of a relatively little-disturbed landscape. Most aliens were associated with climates more mesic than are predicted to occur in the region in future. A limited range of alien taxa (12 %) are predicted to be both highly invasive in the future and feasibly eradicated or contained, and it is these that should be subject to species-led management. A consistent set of management-related predictors of contemporary alien presence were identified, including closer proximity to towns, buildings and water points, and occurrence on a geology and soil type associated with prospective mineral deposits. Addressing the highest management priorities of each approach would appear to be a complementary and parsimonious way forward for regional-scale alien management for biodiversity conservation, as this tackles the processes associated with contemporary alien spread (asset-led approach) while taking a precautionary approach to pre-empt future problematic invasions (species-led approach).

Keywords

Asset-protection Climate change Great Western Woodlands Invasive species Weed invasion Weed risk assessment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Alien plant records or flora survey site data were kindly provided by Louise Briggs, Neil Gibson, Megan Muir and Judith Harvey (all Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW)). Spatial layers, spatial and statistical analysis advice and/or R scripts were kindly provided by Nat Raisbeck-Brown (CSIRO), Judith Harvey, Tanya Llorens, Lesley Gibson, Neil Gibson, Matthew Williams and Ian Steward (all DPaW). The comments of two anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by the Western Australian State Government under A Biodiversity and Cultural Conservation Strategy for the Great Western Woodlands, and supported by the Great Western Woodlands Supersite of the Australian Government’s Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10531_2015_973_MOESM1_ESM.docx (728 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 727 kb)

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Copyright information

© © Crown Copyright 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl R. Gosper
    • 1
    • 2
  • Suzanne M. Prober
    • 2
  • Colin J. Yates
    • 1
  • John K. Scott
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Science and Conservation DivisionDepartment of Parks and WildlifeBentleyAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Land and Water FlagshipWembleyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Animal BiologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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