Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Roads pave the way for weed invasions


While it is well-established that roads can help spread invasive weeds, one new study shows that improved roads are worse than primitive ones, while another suggests that roadless areas act as refuges for native species against invasions.

Cheatgrass, knapweeds and other non-native plants have invaded nearly 125 million acres of the American West. Roads promote invasion because vehicles can transport non-native seeds into uninfested areas, and disturbed roadsides give weed seeds a place to grow.

In the April issue of Conservation Biology, UC Davis doctoral candidate Jonathan Gelbard and research ecologist Jayne Belnap of the U.S. Geological Survey report a study of plants along 42 roads in and around Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. The roads had varying degrees of improvement: 4-wheel-drive track, graded, improved surface (such as gravel) or paved.

They found that each step of road improvement converted an increasing area of natural habitat to roadside habitat, from which non-native weeds spread into adjacent natural ecosystems.

Compared to 4-wheel-drive tracks, paved roads had much wider roadside verges (totals of 6 feet vs. 46 feet) and far more non-native plants, both within the verges and at "interior sites" 165 feet (50 meters) away.

In the April issue of the journal Ecological Applications, Gelbard writes with a UC Davis professor of environmental science and policy, Susan Harrison, about roads’ effects on inland California foothill grasslands.

Gelbard and Harrison found that in areas with typical grassland soils, non-native plants were less abundant and native plants more abundant at sites about a half-mile (1,000 meters) from roads compared to sites less than 33 feet (10 meters) from roads.

Gelbard said, "These papers are timely in light of the debate concerning protection for roadless habitats in U.S. national forests. Our findings show that roadless habitats have multiple benefits, not just for the environment, but also for the economy and our quality of life. They are not only refuges for native biodiversity, but also protect against non-native weed invasions, which are costly for ranchers and public agencies."

Sylvia Wright | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>