Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Anticipating B. sempervirens viability in front of C. perspectalis outbreaks, fire, and drought disturbances.

Abstract

Forest ecosystems face an increasing pressure of insect pest outbreaks due to changes in land-use, new climatic conditions, and the arrival of new invasive alien species. Also, insect outbreaks may interact with other shifting disturbances such as fire and drought, that eventually may boost the impacts of pests on forest ecosystems. In the case of alien species, the lack of long-term data and their rapid spread challenges their study and require appropriate new management strategies to cope with them. Here we studied the case of boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens) in Southern Pyrenees under the pressure of the invasive insect box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis), fire, and drought events. We projected the future of boxwoods through the development of a spatially explicit simulation model and its implementation under different climatic and ecological scenarios. The results showed an initial boxwood decline due to C. perspectalis fast spread but a later stabilization of the population resulting from a fluctuating dynamic. Climate change is expected to reduce overall insect habitat suitability and future negative impacts on boxwoods. Furthermore, boxwood drought-induced mortality and burning will increase under new climatic conditions. Interaction between drought and insect pest conditioning regeneration after defoliation were negligible in our analyses. Boxwood decline was anticipated to be more notorious in locations under 800 m a.s.l. and in habitats where the species dominates the forest understory, while boxwood in open shrub forest types typical of higher elevations will be less endangered. Our results provide valuable information for boxwood and C. perspectalis management in a context of joint disturbance impacts and contribute to a better identification of the role of forest disturbances and their interactions.