A study carried out by researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelonashows that protecting natural spaces does not prevent invasion by foreign vegetation species. Montserrat Vilà and Jordi Pujadas, researchers at the CREAF, have published the study, the first to quantify the relationship between species invasions and human activity on a regional scale, in Biological Conservation.
The introduction of foreign species is a global phenomenon which has negative effects on the conservation of native species and the integrity of ecosystems, having significant economic consequences. Invasion by these species is mainly due to human activity - agricultural work, gardening, and the movement of people or commerce in general, but this relationship had yet to be quantified by a study.
A team of researchers co-ordinated by Montserrat Vilà from the Ecological Research and Forestry Applications Centre (a university institute attached to the Autonomous University of Barcelona) has quantified the relationships between invasions by foreign species and human activity for the first time. The researchers analysed land use and various socio-economic parameters in regions in Europe and North Africa, in order to explore the opportunity to predict the abundance of alien plants based on these parameters.
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