, Volume 570, Issue 1, pp 257–263

Invasibility of four plant communities in the Llobregat delta (Catalonia, NE of Spain) in relation to their historical stability



Presence and cover of alien plants were analysed in relation to recent naturalness changes (1956–1999) in the Llobregat delta by means of GIS techniques and field surveys. Two land cover maps of 1956 and 1999 were generated by photo-interpretation of orthoimages and they were then reclassified into naturalness classes, defined as the degree of preservation of the pristine state. The resulting naturalness maps were combined in order to obtain a naturalness change map, which was used to design field sampling in four pristine communities: reedbeds, rushbeds, halophilous scrubs and fixed dune communities. Two study areas were selected for each community and three stability regimes (stable, semi-stable and non-stable) obtained from the naturalness change map. Five vegetation inventories were performed on average in each of these areas using the classical sigmatist method. Results showed a negative relationship between stability and invasibility, with several variations between communities. No alien species were found in stable areas of all communities. Alien species number, species percentage and relative cover increased from semi-stable to non-stable regimes in reedbeds and dune communities, indicating that reversion towards the climax reduces opportunities for alien establishment in these communities. In contrast, halophilous habitats such as rushbeds and scrubs did not exhibit significant differences between semi-stable and non-stable plots, probably because saline stress makes their invasion by alien plants difficult, even under disturbance.


landscape history alien species coastal habitats Llobregat delta 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alpert, P., Bone, E., Holzapfel, C. 2000Invasiveness, invasibility and the role of environmental stress in the spread of non-native plantsPerspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics35266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bolòs, A., Bolòs, O. 1950La vegetación de las comarcas barcelonesasInstituto Español de Estudios MediterráneosBarcelona350Google Scholar
  3. Casasayas, T. 1990

    Widespread adventive plants in Catalonia

    di Castri, F.Hansen, A. J.Debussche, M. eds. Biological Invasions in Europe and the Mediterranean BasinKluwer academic PublishersDodretch85104
    Google Scholar
  4. di Castri, F. 1990

    On invading species and invaded ecosystems: the interplay of historical chance and biological necessity

    di Castri, F.Hansen, A. J.Debussche, M. eds. Biological Invasions in Europe and the Mediterranean BasinKluwer academic PublishersDodretch316
    Google Scholar
  5. Ewel, J. J. 1986

    Invasibility: lessons from South Florida

    Mooney, H. A.Drake, J. A. eds. Ecology of biological invasions of North America and HawaiiSpringer-VerlagNew York214230
    Google Scholar
  6. Heger, T. 2001

    A model for interpreting the process of invasion: crucial situations favouring special characteristics of invasive spacies

    Brundu, G.Brock, J.Camarda, I.Child, L.Wade, M. eds. Plant Invasions: Species Ecology and Ecosystem ManagementBackhuys PublishersLeiden39
    Google Scholar
  7. Hobbs, R. J., 2000. Land-use changes and invasions. In Mooney H. A. & R. J. Hobbs (eds), Invasive Species in a Changing World. Island Press, Washington, DC, 55–64Google Scholar
  8. Hobbs, R. J., Huenneke, L. F 1992Disturbance, diversity and invasion: implications for conservationConservation Biology6324337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jones, D. T., Doren, R. F. 1997

    The distribution, biology and control of Schinus terebinthifolius in southern Florida. With special reference to Everglades National Park

    Brock, J. H.Wade, M.Pyšek, P.Green, D. eds. Plant Invasions: Studies from North America and EuropeBlackhuys publishersLeiden8193
    Google Scholar
  10. Lodge, D. M. 1993

    Species invasions and deletions

    Kareiva, P. M.Kingsolver, J. G.Honey, R. B. eds. Biotic Interactions and Global ChangeSunderlandMassachussets367387
    Google Scholar
  11. Olenin, S., Leppänoski, E. 1999Non-native animals in the Baltic Sea: alteration of benthic habitats in coastal inlets and lagoonsHydrobiologia393233243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Pyšek, P., Prach, K. 1993Plant invasion and the role of riparian habitats: a comparison of four species alien to central EuropeJournal of Biogeography20413420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Rauchich, J., Reader, R. J. 1999An experimental study of wetland invisibility by purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)Canadian Journal of Botany7714991503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rubio-Casal, A. E., Castillo, J. M., Luque, C. J., Figuero, M. E. 2001Nucleation and facilitation in salt pans in Mediterranean salt marshesJournal of Vegetation Science12761770Google Scholar
  15. Vitousek, P. M., Mooney, H. A., Lubchenco, J., Melillo, J. M. 1997Human domination of Earth’s ecosystemsScience277494499CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF)Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.Departament de Biologia VegetalUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Méndez Núñez 1BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of Puerto RicoSan JuaUSA

Personalised recommendations