New publication: Meta-analysis identifies native priority as a mechanism that supports the restoration of invasion-resistant plant communities

The restoration of invasion-resistant plant communities is an important strategy to combat the negative impacts of alien invasions. Based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of seed-based ecological restoration experiments, here we demonstrate the potential of functional similarity, seeding density and priority effect in increasing invasion resistance. Our results indicate that native priority is the most promising mechanism to control invasion that can reduce the performance of invasive alien species by more than 50%. High-density seeding is effective in controlling invasive species, but threshold seeding rates may exist. Overall seeding functionally similar species do not have a significant effect. Generally, the impacts are more pronounced on perennial and grassy invaders and on the short-term. Our results suggest that biotic resistance can be best enhanced by the early introduction of native plant species during restoration. Seeding of a single species with high functional similarity to invasive alien species is unpromising, and instead, preference should be given to high-density multifunctional seed mixtures, possibly including native species favored by the priority effect. We highlight the need to integrate research across geographical regions, global invasive species and potential resistance mechanisms.

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Published by Melinda Halassy, Péter Batáry, Anikó Csecserits, Katalin Török & Orsolya Valkó in the Journal of Communications Biology.