Invasive alien plants (IAP) pose a major threat to biodiversity and have a negative impact on the integrity and conservation status of plant communities. Mediterranean dunes are widely exposed to IAP, due to their environmental heterogeneity and the anthropogenic pressures to which they are subjected. The current study explored the possible existence of critical thresholds of IAP cover/abundance and dune path impacts that may cause the decline in diagnostic species cover in shifting and transition dunes. A random sampling of 126 plots in areas invaded and not invaded by IAP across the Italian Adriatic dunes has been used and the recorded species have been classified in ecological guilds. In order to explore the effect of plant community composition and distances from dune paths on the diagnostic species cover, a Random Forest regression model has been fitted. The results revealed that three main critical thresholds can be detected concerning IAP total cover, IAP Oenothera stucchii Soldano abundance and the distance from dune paths and they work differently in shifting and transition dunes. The identification of such cut-off points provides useful insights for an array of actions to preserve the biodiversity of the Mediterranean coastal dunes.

Identifying Critical Thresholds in the Impacts of Invasive Alien Plants and Dune Paths on Native Coastal Dune Vegetation

Buffa, Gabriella;Fantinato, Edy;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Invasive alien plants (IAP) pose a major threat to biodiversity and have a negative impact on the integrity and conservation status of plant communities. Mediterranean dunes are widely exposed to IAP, due to their environmental heterogeneity and the anthropogenic pressures to which they are subjected. The current study explored the possible existence of critical thresholds of IAP cover/abundance and dune path impacts that may cause the decline in diagnostic species cover in shifting and transition dunes. A random sampling of 126 plots in areas invaded and not invaded by IAP across the Italian Adriatic dunes has been used and the recorded species have been classified in ecological guilds. In order to explore the effect of plant community composition and distances from dune paths on the diagnostic species cover, a Random Forest regression model has been fitted. The results revealed that three main critical thresholds can be detected concerning IAP total cover, IAP Oenothera stucchii Soldano abundance and the distance from dune paths and they work differently in shifting and transition dunes. The identification of such cut-off points provides useful insights for an array of actions to preserve the biodiversity of the Mediterranean coastal dunes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5011460
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