Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Wetland invasion: a multi-faceted challenge during a time of rapid global change.

Abstract

Wetlands are unique, highly biodiverse ecosystems of high conservation value that provide multiple ecosystem services to human society. However, the dynamic nature of wetlands creates abundant opportunities for the establishment and spread of invasive species, especially those well adapted to the current global prevalence of environmental change. Wetland invasibility is influenced by ongoing changes in climate and human land use (e.g., hydrologic modifications and eutrophication). Invasive species, in turn, can change the community composition and structure of the colonized wetlands through direct competition, predation, habitat alterations, hybridization, and pathogen transmission. Invaders can also alter ecosystem functioning, including hydrology, sedimentation, fire regimes, food webs, nutrient cycling, and succession. These changes in the biotic community and ecosystem functioning can affect human derived wetland services such as navigation, water distribution, and resource provision, as well as exaggerate problems related to human health. Although we currently possess diverse tools for managing individual species invasions, the current rate of global change may require creative approaches to achieve management success in the near future. Single-species or single-parameter approaches are unlikely to provide sustained biodiversity protection in this time of unprecedented environmental change, and hierarchical or multi-stressor approaches may become the new norm for managing wetland invasion.