Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Roads pave the way for weed invasions

07.05.2003


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:
http://www.ucdavis.edu/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Species may appear deceptively resilient to climate change
24.11.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

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 proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>