Invasive Acacia mearnsii De Wilde in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China: a new biogeographic distribution that threatens airport safety.
Acacia mearnsii De Wilde is on the top 100 of the world's most invasive alien species and has successfully invaded many areas around the world. However, its distribution and expansion is seldom reported in China. This study for the first time conducted a survey on the new distribution of A. mearnsii at the Kunming Changshui Airport (Yunnan Province, China), through monitoring on population characteristics (number, density, height and ground diameter) and spatial distribution (spread distance). Our survey results show that A. mearnsii has spread rapidly across the airport. This study discusses three factors of environmental factors, human disturbance and weed characteristics behind this successful invasion. The species invasion has a strong potential to change the local vegetation structure, enhances the probability of bird strikes at the airport, and is vulnerable to invade new biogeographic regions if it is not controlled. Currently, eradication combined with mechanical control is considered to be the best option for control. Our study helps improve awareness about the potential risk of A. mearnsii invasion in other airports around China and the world.