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      Comparing environmental impacts of alien plants, insects and pathogens in protected riparian forests

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          Abstract

          The prioritization of alien species according to the magnitude of their environmental impacts has become increasingly important for the management of invasive alien species. In this study, we applied the Environmental Impact Classification of Alien Taxa (EICAT) to classify alien taxa from three different taxonomic groups to facilitate the prioritisation of management actions for the threatened riparian forests of the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve, South East Europe. With local experts we collated a list of 198 alien species (115 plants, 45 insects, and 38 fungi) with populations reported in southeast European forest ecosystems and included them in the EICAT. We found impact reports for 114 species. Eleven of these species caused local extinctions of a native species, 35 led to a population decrease, 51 to a reduction in performance in at least one native species and for 17 alien species no effects on individual fitness of native species were detected. Fungi had significantly highest impact and were more likely to have information on their impacts reported. Competition and parasitism were the most important impact mechanisms of alien species. This study is, to our knowledge, the first application of EICAT to all known alien species of several taxonomic groups in a protected area. The impact rankings enabled to identify taxa that generally cause high impacts and to prioritize species for the management in protected areas according to their impact magnitudes. By following a standardized impact protocol, we identified several alien species causing high impacts that do not appear on any expert-based risk list, which are relevant for policymakers. Thus, we recommend that alien species be systematically screened to identify knowledge gaps and prioritize their management with respect to spatio-temporal trends in impact magnitudes.

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          Avoiding Pitfalls When Using Information-Theoretic Methods

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            Increasing forest disturbances in Europe and their impact on carbon storage.

            Disturbances from wind, bark beetles, and wildfires have increased in Europe's forests throughout the 20(th) century (1). Climatic changes were identified as a main driver behind this increase (2), yet how the expected continuation of climate change will affect Europe's forest disturbance regime remains unresolved. Increasing disturbances could strongly impact the forest carbon budget (3,4), and are hypothesized to contribute to the recently observed carbon sink saturation in Europe's forests (5). Here we show that forest disturbance damage in Europe has continued to increase in the first decade of the 21(st) century. Based on an ensemble of climate change scenarios we find that damage from wind, bark beetles, and forest fires is likely to increase further in coming decades, and estimate the rate of increase to +0.91·10(6) m(3) of timber per year until 2030. We show that this intensification can offset the effect of management strategies aiming to increase the forest carbon sink, and calculate the disturbance-related reduction of the carbon storage potential in Europe's forests to be 503.4 Tg C in 2021-2030. Our results highlight the considerable carbon cycle feedbacks of changing disturbance regimes, and underline that future forest policy and management will require a stronger focus on disturbance risk and resilience.
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              Plant Invasions and the Role of Riparian Habitats: A Comparison of Four Species Alien to Central Europe

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                Author and article information

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                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                October 07 2021
                October 07 2021
                : 69
                : 1-28
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.69.71651
                © 2021

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