Essl Franz

Distribution and management of invasive alien plant species in protected areas in Central Europe

Project Number: CH-5863
Project Type: Research_Project
Project Duration: 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2016 project completed
Funding Source: other ,
Leading Institution: University Vienna
Project Leader: Dr. Franz Essl
Biodiversity and Nature Conservation
Environment Agency Austria
Spittelauer Lände 5
AT-1090 Wien
Phone: +43 1 31304 3323
e-Mail: franz.essl(at)

related to this project.
for which the project has a relevance.

Research Areas:

general biology
environmental sciences

invasive plant species, protected areas, biological invasions, biosphere reserves, conservation, impacts, national parks, survey

Protected areas play a key role in biodiversity conservation, yet they face numerous pressures including the spread of invasive alien species (IAS). We designed a structured online survey to investigate the distribution and management of 53 invasive alien plant species in large protected areas, i.e. national parks and biosphere reserves, in eight Central European countries. We contacted 93 protected areas management authorities, of which 46 replied. In 44 protected areas (96% of those responding), at least one IAS was present, and in 37 protected areas (80%) IAS were managed. On average, 11.2 ± 6.9 IAS were present per protected area and 4.3 ± 3.4 (41%) of these were managed. A one-way ANOVA showed no significant difference in the number of IAS present or managed between the different protected area designations (national parks, biosphere reserves). Similarly, neither the size nor the founding year of the protected area influenced the number of IAS present or managed. Thirty-one species (58%) were managed in at least one protected area. The most widely managed species were Fallopia japonica (23 protected areas), Heracleum mantegazzianum (20), and Impatiens glandulifera (16). The amount of financial resources devoted to IAS management was rather low, corresponding to 3.1 ± 4.4% of the total budget for natural resources management of the protected areas. We conclude that a lack of dedicated funding for IAS management in most protected areas and a lack of coordinated response between protected areas currently limit the effectiveness of the IAS management. In particular, an increased exchange of expertise between protected areas, and the development of minimum standards for IAS surveillance and management are pivotal. In addition, documenting best practice examples and synthesizing lessons learned in IAS management are urgently needed

Braun, M.; S. Schindler and F. Essl (2016): Distribution and management of invasive alien plant species in protected areas in Central Europe. In: Journal for Nature Conservation. 33, 48-57.

Last update: 7/18/17
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-5863

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