Invasive Species Compendium

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Alien invasive plants in Belgian limestone quarries.

Abstract

Description of the subject. Vegetation of high conservation value can establish in quarries, during or after exploitation. Alien plants could hamper this process and cause additional rehabilitation costs. However, the situation of plant invasion in quarries is largely unknown. Objectives. We aimed to assess alien plant invasion in active and abandoned quarries, and to identify the most invaded quarry sectors. Method. We surveyed 6,692 plots in 31 quarries in Belgium and recorded occurrence, density and cover of the 65 listed alien invasive plants in Belgium. Results. Fourteen species were recorded and 25 quarries contained at least one species. The two most occurring species, Buddleja davidii Franch. and Senecio inaequidens DC., were more widespread in quarries in activity. All sectors of the quarries were affected by alien plant invasion. Conclusions. Alien plant invasion in limestone quarries is highly variable, but significant. Considering the ecological potential of quarry sites, this issue should be better tackled.