Ensuring invasive alien plant management delivers biodiversity conservation: insights from an assessment of Lantana camara in Australia
Peter J. Turner and Paul O. Downey, Pest Management Unit, Parks and Wildlife Group, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW), PO Box 1967, Hurstville, New South Wales 1481, Australia.
Alien plants are widely acknowledged as a major cause of biodiversity decline globally. However, details of which aspects of biodiversity is at risk from alien plant invasions has not been forthcoming. This has hampered alien plant management strategies from delivering biodiversity conservation, as control is not focused on the biodiversity most threatened. Here we describe a two-step approach which ensures that alien plant management delivers biodiversity conservation. This approach is presented through a case study using Lantana camara L. (lantana) invasions across Australia, and then discussed more broadly for management of other alien plants for the conservation of biodiversity. The first step identifies the native biodiversity at risk (native plant and animal species and ecological communities) and then the degree of threat to each. The second step assesses locations of the native biodiversity to determine priority sites for control. Using the first step, we identified 1321 native plant and 158 native animal species as being threatened by lantana in Australia. These species were then assessed for the current level of threat from lantana and prioritized based on their likelihood of changing their threatened status in the near future. This process revealed 275 native plant and 24 native animal species requiring immediate protection from lantana invasions within Australia. The results of this approach have now been used to develop a national management strategy that will focus lantana management towards biodiversity conservation.
Key words: Biodiversity conservation, prioritization, Plan to Protect Environmental Assets from Lantana, Weed Impacts to Native Species (WINS) assessment, sites for control, triage.
Plant Protection Quarterly (2010) 25 (3), 102-110.