Dr Desika Moodley1
1Institute of Botany, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Průhonice , Czech Republic
Factors that determine the variation in plant invasions world-wide have recently become well understood, however, surprisingly little is known about processes and mechanisms of invasions into undisturbed ecosystems harboured in protected areas (PAs). Invasive species management is difficult and often very expensive and this is no exception for PAs. Estimating management costs requires an understanding of the relative invasion across PAs, however, available data on invasive species distribution is often incomplete. The last global overview is from the 1980s and available data are surprisingly scarce. To close the knowledge gap on the distribution of alien plants in protected areas globally and examine how plant invasions differ between PA landscapes and those operating in non-protected landscapes, we aimed to (1) build a new global inventory of naturalized and invasive plants in PAs, (2) measure the level to which PAs suffer from invasions, and (3) investigate the relationship between the overall level of invasion in a region and in PAs located within that region. A list of PAs was extracted from the World Database on Protected Areas and invasion records were collated using literature, local databases and unpublished accounts. The Global Naturalized Alien database (GloNAF) was used to measure the overall level of invasion in a region and its effect on PAs. We tested the hypotheses that a large proportion of PAs will contain alien species, and that a higher number of naturalized and invasive alien plants will be recorded in PAs located within regions that comprise a higher alien plant richness.
I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Invasion Ecology at the Czech Academy of Sciences. My research interests focus on the dynamics of biological invasions. My current project is based on assessing the distribution of alien plants in protected areas globally, as well as understanding the mechanisms driving plant invasions in these landscapes and how they differ from those operating in non-protected landscapes.