Seed-based restoration to prevent the establishment and spread of invasive species


Invasion of alien species is one of the major drivers responsible for biodiversity decline and the resulting impacts on human economy and well-being. Certain plant traits, high propagule pressure and priority are possible explanations for the invasive success of alien species, and these mechanisms are also proposed to affect the biotic resistance of native communities to alien invasion. 

The aim of the research is to test alternative hypotheses that explain the biotic resistance of native communities to invasive alien species based on trait similarity, propagule pressure and priority. We also aim to scientifically base the development of best practices of seed-based conservation and restoration to prevent the establishment or further spread of invasive alien species. 

The project includes i. a synthetic assemblage experiment that includes all three mechanisms in parallel and that models recently abandoned degraded areas without vegetation cover, and ii. a field experiment to control an already established invasive species that model real-world nature conservation efforts. 

Since the impact of the three mechanisms also depend on the identity of the invader, we include three widespread invasive species that represent different life forms and functional groups. Our results will open up a new perspective on the control and prevention of invasive spread that can form the scientific basis for the development of new, efficient sowing methods for nature conservation and restoration 

The knowledge will also be transferred to local farmers and land managers to increase social usability and to MSc and PhD students as part of their research training.