Identifying potential distributions of 10 invasive alien trees: implications for conservation management of protected areas.
Tree invasion has the potential to negatively affect biodiversity and ecosystems, with invasive alien trees (IATs) expanding widely in protected areas (PAs) across different habitats. Thus, the effectiveness of PAs might be reduced. Investigation of the distributions of IAT is urgently required to improve the effective conservation management of PAs. We projected the potential distributions of 10 IATs, which included Acacia mearnsii, Ardisia elliptica, Cecropia peltata, Cinchona pubescens, Leucaena leucocephala, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Miconia calvescens, Morella faya, Prosopis glandulosa, and Spathodea campanulata, that have a serious influence on global biodiversity and assessed the distribution possibilities of these IATs in PAs based on the PA categories of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The overall potential distributions of these 10 IATs included Latin America, central and southern Africa, southeastern Asia, eastern Australia and New Zealand, and western Europe. Annual mean temperature, temperature seasonality, annual precipitation, and soil bulk density were found to be important environmental variables for the potential distributions of these IATs. Overall, A. mearnsii, A. elliptica, C. peltata, L. leucocephala, M. quinquenervia, M. calvescens, and S. campanulata were distributed mainly in the IUCN PA categories of national parks and PAs with sustainable use of natural resources. We proposed the following for conservation management of PAs: (1) completion of species inventories for PAs, (2) better understanding of factors driving invasions in PAs, (3) assessment of the efficiency of management within particular PAs, and (4) evaluation of changes in trends regarding plant invasions in PAs under climate change conditions.