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Spatial mismatch analysis among hotspots of alien plant species, road and railway networks in Germany and Austria.


ABSTRACT: Road and railway networks are pervasive elements of all environments, which have expanded intensively over the last century in all European countries. These transportation infrastructures have major impacts on the surrounding landscape, representing a threat to biodiversity. Roadsides and railways may function as corridors for dispersal of alien species in fragmented landscapes. However, only few studies have explored the spread of invasive species in relationship to transport network at large spatial scales. We performed a spatial mismatch analysis, based on a spatially explicit correlation test, to investigate whether alien plant species hotspots in Germany and Austria correspond to areas of high density of roads and railways. We tested this independently of the effects of dominant environments in each spatial unit, in order to focus just on the correlation between occurrence of alien species and density of linear transportation infrastructures. We found a significant spatial association between alien plant species hotspots distribution and roads and railways density in both countries. As expected, anthropogenic landscapes, such as urban areas, harbored more alien plant species, followed by water bodies. However, our findings suggested that the distribution of neobiota is strongest correlated to road/railways density than to land use composition. This study provides new evidence, from a transnational scale, that alien plants can use roadsides and rail networks as colonization corridors. Furthermore, our approach contributes to the understanding on alien plant species distribution at large spatial scale by the combination with spatial modeling procedures.

SUBMITTER: Benedetti Y 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5567654 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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