A New Method for Post-introduction Risk Assessment of Biological Invasions Among Introduced Shrubs in Developing Countries

Risk-assessment methods are useful in collecting data that can help decision making to prevent the introduction of new species that have the potential of invading as well as in management of established taxa. Not only the complexity and unaffordability of available preintroduction risk-assessment models make them rarely or inconsistently applied in the least-developed countries, but also there is lack of tools to assess the status of already introduced plant species. In this study, an affordable and rapid method of assessment of invasiveness among introduced plant species was developed and tested in Rwanda. This method defines three invasion stages (potential, effective, and suppressive invaders) and four levels of risk assessment: post-introduction assessment of species inherent invasive potential (Level 1), post-establishment assessment of species capacity of regeneration (Level 2), post-naturalization assessment of species range of occurrence and ability for long-distance dispersal (Level 3), and post-naturalization assessment of species ability to outcompete other plants in the community and transform the landscape (Level 4). A review of invasive species in Rwanda was developed through desk review, examination of herbarium records, and vegetation surveys. This method should be applicable in other countries that lack the means for a more conventional scientific investigation or under any circumstance where a quick and inexpensive assessment is needed. The method could be useful to environmental managers for timely intervention with strategies specific to different stages of invasion (post-introduction, post-establishment, or post-naturalization) and allocate resources accordingly.
Alien, Shrubs, Invasive, Suppressive
Seburanga, J. L., Bizuru, E., Mwavu, E. N., Kampungu, K. G., Gatesire, T., & Kaplin, B. A. (2016). A new method for post-introduction risk assessment of biological invasions among introduced shrubs in developing countries. Environmental management, 57(3), 572-584. DOI 10.1007/s00267-015-0639-1