Exotic plant invasions are considered one of the major threats to biodiversity causing important impacts at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. Understanding the drivers of plant invasions across multiple spatial and temporal scales often requires a landscape approach. The effect of landscape composition on biological invasion has been extensively studied, whereas landscape configuration effects were seldom considered or the analyses were limited to single species. Here, we aimed to analyze how the expansion of urban and agricultural areas can affect exotic species richness (both neophytes and archaeophytes) at three spatial scales, namely regional (scale: 37.5 km2), landscape (scale: 7.1 km2) and local (scale: 100 m2). We considered the possible contribution of urban and agricultural areas both in terms of composition (i.e. habitat cover) and configuration (i.e. shape complexity of patches). First, we found that increasing urbanization coupled with high shape complexity of urban elements were major drivers of both neophyte and archaeophyte invasions across heterogeneous landscapes. In particular, shape complexity seemed to be a key driver of plant invasions at large spatial scale, whereas the type of recipient habitat and urban cover determined the exotic success at the patch level. Second, archaeophytes were also affected by agriculture land use, i.e. agricultural patches shape complexity increased their spread at both regional and landscape scales. High shape complexity of highly disturbed habitats is expected to increase the exchange surface that exotic plant use to spread their propagules across the landscape mosaics. Our findings suggest that urban planning aimed at curbing urban fragmentation by both reducing shape complexity and diffuse urban sprawl might greatly improve the resistance of landscapes to biological invasions.

Urban sprawl facilitates invasions of exotic plants across multiple spatial scales

Boscutti F.;Pellegrini E.;Sigura M.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Exotic plant invasions are considered one of the major threats to biodiversity causing important impacts at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. Understanding the drivers of plant invasions across multiple spatial and temporal scales often requires a landscape approach. The effect of landscape composition on biological invasion has been extensively studied, whereas landscape configuration effects were seldom considered or the analyses were limited to single species. Here, we aimed to analyze how the expansion of urban and agricultural areas can affect exotic species richness (both neophytes and archaeophytes) at three spatial scales, namely regional (scale: 37.5 km2), landscape (scale: 7.1 km2) and local (scale: 100 m2). We considered the possible contribution of urban and agricultural areas both in terms of composition (i.e. habitat cover) and configuration (i.e. shape complexity of patches). First, we found that increasing urbanization coupled with high shape complexity of urban elements were major drivers of both neophyte and archaeophyte invasions across heterogeneous landscapes. In particular, shape complexity seemed to be a key driver of plant invasions at large spatial scale, whereas the type of recipient habitat and urban cover determined the exotic success at the patch level. Second, archaeophytes were also affected by agriculture land use, i.e. agricultural patches shape complexity increased their spread at both regional and landscape scales. High shape complexity of highly disturbed habitats is expected to increase the exchange surface that exotic plant use to spread their propagules across the landscape mosaics. Our findings suggest that urban planning aimed at curbing urban fragmentation by both reducing shape complexity and diffuse urban sprawl might greatly improve the resistance of landscapes to biological invasions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1221674
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