Distribution of invasive plants in urban environment is strongly spatially structured

Abstract

Context

Urban environments create a wide range of habitats that harbour a great diversity of plant species, many of which are of alien origin. For future urban planning and management of the green areas within the city, understanding of the spatial distribution of invasive alien species is of great importance.

Objectives

Our main aim was to assess how availability of different ecosystem types within a city area, as well as several parameters describing urban structure interact in determining the cover and identity of invasive alien species.

Methods

We studied the distribution of chosen invasive plant species in a mid-sized city in the Czech Republic, central Europe, on a gradient of equal sized cells from the city centre to its outskirts.

Results

A great amount of variation was explained by spatial predictors but not shared with any measured variables. The species cover of invasive species decreased with increasing proportion of urban greenery and distance from the city centre, but increased with habitat richness; road margins, ruderal sites, and railway sites were richest in invasive species. In contrast, the total number of invasive species in cells significantly decreased with increasing distance from the city centre, but increased with habitat richness.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that different invasive species prefer habitats in the vicinity of the city centre and at its periphery and the spatial structure and habitat quality of the urban landscape needs to be taken into account, in efforts to manage alien plant species invasions in urban environments.

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Acknowledgements

Our special thanks are due to Věra Samková (East Bohemian Museum, Hradec Králové) for her extensive help in the field and for providing us with local floristic literature, Lukáš Sekerka for his patience and permanent support, Martin Hejda, Jan Pergl and Stanislav Mihulka for their critical insights on the first drafts of the manuscript, and to Christina Alba who kindly improved English and also commented on the manuscript. We also thank Amy Hahs, Jill Rapson and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments that helped us to improve the manuscript. JB, KŠ, PP and PŠ were supported by the Project No. 14-36079G (Centre of Excellence PLADIAS from the Czech Science Foundation), PŠ by the project of GAJU 04-142/2010/P, KŠ and PP by long-term research development project RVO 67985939 (The Czech Academy of Sciences), and Praemium Academiae award to PP.

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Correspondence to Kateřina Štajerová.

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Štajerová, K., Šmilauer, P., Brůna, J. et al. Distribution of invasive plants in urban environment is strongly spatially structured. Landscape Ecol 32, 681–692 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-016-0480-9

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Keywords

  • Alien
  • Species cover
  • Central Europe
  • Invasive
  • Neophyte
  • Species richness
  • Urban environment