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Wetland Invasion: a Multi-Faceted Challenge during a Time of Rapid Global Change

  • Mark Brinson Review
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Abstract

Wetlands are unique, highly biodiverse ecosystems of high conservation value that provide multiple ecosystem services to human society. However, the dynamic nature of wetlands creates abundant opportunities for the establishment and spread of invasive species, especially those well adapted to the current global prevalence of environmental change. Wetland invasibility is influenced by ongoing changes in climate and human land use (e.g., hydrologic modifications and eutrophication). Invasive species, in turn, can change the community composition and structure of the colonized wetlands through direct competition, predation, habitat alterations, hybridization, and pathogen transmission. Invaders can also alter ecosystem functioning, including hydrology, sedimentation, fire regimes, food webs, nutrient cycling, and succession. These changes in the biotic community and ecosystem functioning can affect human derived wetland services such as navigation, water distribution, and resource provision, as well as exaggerate problems related to human health. Although we currently possess diverse tools for managing individual species invasions, the current rate of global change may require creative approaches to achieve management success in the near future. Single-species or single-parameter approaches are unlikely to provide sustained biodiversity protection in this time of unprecedented environmental change, and hierarchical or multi-stressor approaches may become the new norm for managing wetland invasion.

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Acknowledgments

Development of this paper was supported in part by the United States Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station and the Environmental Monitoring program award 19-DG11083150-006 (Lázaro-Lobo and Ervin) and US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center award W912HZ-20-2-0039 (Ervin).

Funding

Development of this paper was supported in part by the United States Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station and the Environmental Monitoring program award 19-DG11083150–006 (Lázaro-Lobo and Ervin) and US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center award W912HZ-20-2-0039 (Ervin).

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Both authors conceived the ideas for this paper; AL-L led the writing of the manuscript. Both authors contributed critically to the drafts and gave final approval for publication.

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Lázaro-Lobo, A., Ervin, G.N. Wetland Invasion: a Multi-Faceted Challenge during a Time of Rapid Global Change. Wetlands 41, 64 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-021-01462-1

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