Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The risks of introduction of the Amazonian palm Euterpe oleracea in the Atlantic rainforest.

Abstract

The introduction of a species may alter ecological processes of native populations, such as pollination and dispersal patterns, leading to changes in population structure. When the introduced and the native species are congeners, interference in pollination can also lead to hybridization. We aimed to understand the ecological aspects of Euterpe oleracea introduction in the Atlantic forest and the possible consequences for the conservation of the native congener Euterpe edulis. We analysed the population structure of palm populations, including hybrids, and observed the interaction with frugivorous birds of both palm species after E. oleracea introduction. We observed that E. edulis had significantly lower density and a smaller number of seedlings when occurring with E. oleracea. Native and introduced Euterpe species shared nine frugivorous bird species. E. oleracea and hybrids had dispersed outside the original planting area. Consequently, the risks of introduction of E. oleracea may mostly be related to the disruption of interactions between E. edulis and frugivorous birds and the spontaneous production of hybrids. Finally, the cultivation of E. oleracea and hybrids in Atlantic rainforest could affect the conservation of the already endangered E. edulis.