Expected spatial patterns of alien woody plants in South Africa’s protected areas under current scenario of climate change

Bezeng S. Bezeng, Kowiyou Yessoufou, Peter J. Taylor, Solomon G. Tesfamichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although protected areas (PAs) are declared to provide sanctuaries for biodiversity, they are increasingly threatened by the synergistic effects of anthropic factors, invasive alien species and climate change. Consequently, interventions are required to minimize the impacts of these threats on PAs’ integrity. To inform these interventions in the South African context and under the current climate change scenario, we tested for geographic patterns of alien woody species across the network of 1,453 PAs using three alien invasion indices – alien species abundance, invaded area ratio and alien species richness. Our analysis shows that, under current climate change scenario, none of the PAs would be effective in shielding against alien plants and PAs that are geographically close tend to share similar invasion patterns. In addition, PAs that are hotspots of alien species are also geographically clustered but these findings are biome-dependent. Our outlier analysis reveals not only an island of disproportionately rich PAs in alien species, but also identifies some alien-poor PAs. We suggest that PAs that are hotspots of alien species as well as outliers of disproportionately rich PAs in alien species should be priority in monitoring and invasion control programmes in the context of the ongoing climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7038
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Multidisciplinary

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