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Oecologia. 2020 Mar;192(3):823-836. doi: 10.1007/s00442-020-04603-1. Epub 2020 Jan 25.

Combined effects of land-use intensification and plant invasion on native communities.

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Grup de Recerca Freshwater Ecology, Hydrology and Management (FEHM), Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Facultat de Biologia, Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat (IRBio), Universitat de Barcelona, 08028, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
Department of Biology, Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology (CBMA), Institute of Science and Innovation for Bio-Sustainability (IB-S), University of Minho, Campus of Gualtar, 4710-057, Braga, Portugal.
Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Campus Tecnológico de la Fábrica de Armas, 45071, Toledo, Spain.
Departamento de Ecología e Hidrología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100, Murcia, Spain.
CABI, Bakeham Lane, Egham, TW20 9TY, UK.
Evaluación y Restauración de Sistemas Agrícolas y Forestales RNM360, Departamento de Ingeniería Forestal, Universidad de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain.
Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Sevilla, 1095, 41080, Seville, Spain.
Departamento de Ciencias de la Vida, Universidad de Alcalá, Campus Universitario, Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona km 33.6, Alcalá de Henares, 28805, Madrid, Spain.
Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Av. Américo Vespucio 26, Isla de la Cartuja, 41092, Seville, Spain.


Land-use intensification (LUI) and biological invasions are two of the most important global change pressures driving biodiversity loss. However, their combined impacts on biological communities have been seldom explored, which may result in misleading ecological assessments or mitigation actions. Based on an extensive field survey of 445 paired invaded and control plots of coastal vegetation in SW Spain, we explored the joint effects of LUI (agricultural and urban intensification) and invasion on the taxonomic and functional richness, mean plant height and leaf area of native plants. Our survey covered five invasive species with contrasting functional similarity and competitive ability in relation to the native community. We modeled the response of native communities for the overall and invader-specific datasets, and determined if invader-native functional differences could influence the combined impacts of LUI and invasion. Overall, we found that urban intensification reduced taxonomic richness more strongly at invaded plots (synergistic interactive effects). In contrast, functional richness loss caused by urban intensification was less pronounced at invaded plots (antagonistic interactive effects). Overall models showed also that urban intensification led to reduced mean leaf area, while agriculture was linked to higher mean plant height. When exploring invader-specific models, we observed that the combined effects of agricultural and urban intensification with invasion were heterogeneous. At invaded plots, invader-native functional differences accounted for part of this variability. Our findings demonstrate the importance of considering the interactive effects of global change pressures for a better assessment and management of ecosystems.


Competitive ability; Functional traits; Global change ecology; Multiple stressors; Niche similarity

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