Agricultural land use curbs exotic invasion but sustains native plant diversity at intermediate levels

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Unveiling the processes driving exotic plant invasion represent a central issue in taking decisions aimed at constraining the loss of biodiversity and related ecosystem services. The invasion success is often linked to anthropogenic land uses and warming due to climate change. We studied the responses of native versus casual and naturalised exotic species richness to land uses and climate at the landscape level, relying on a large floristic survey undertaken in North - Eastern Italy. Both climate and land use drove exotic species richness. Our results suggest that the success of plant invasion at this scale is mainly due to warm climatic conditions and the extent of urban and agricultural land, but with different effects on casual and naturalized exotic species. The occurrence of non-linear trends showed that a small percentage of extensive agricultural land in the landscape may concurrently reduce the number of exotic plant while sustaining native plant diversity. Plant invasion could be potentially limited by land management, mainly focusing on areas with extensive agricultural land use. A more consciousness land management is more and more commonly required by local administrations. According to our results, a shift of intensive to extensive agricultural land, by implementing green infrastructures, seems to be a win–win solution favouring native species while controlling the oversimplification of the flora due to plant invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8385
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 261372751