Firn, J. and Buckley, Y.M. (2010).
Impacts of invasive plants in Australian rangelands.
Rangelands 32: 48-51.
In Australia, the spread and dominance of non-native plant species has been identified as a serious threat to rangeland biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. In this article, we summarize the scientific evidence of the impacts invasive plants species have on Australian rangeland biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We discuss four classes of impacts: 1) biodiversity, 2) hydrology, 3) fire regimes, and 4) nutrient cycling. To do this, we summarise the existing evidence on these impacts from a literature search. We then summarise the broad trends, and briefly describe key examples of each impact. Overall, we found that few studies have measured the impacts invasive species have on hydrology, fire regimes and nutrient cycling. The majority of research has instead focused on the density and distribution of individual species.
Based on these findings, we then argue that more information is needed on how invasive plant species alter these key ecosystem functioning, because this knowledge will provide better insight on how to manage the spread, dominance and impact of these species.