Biological Invasions (2014) 16, 1627-1638

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Jana Medvecká, Ivan Jarolímek, Dusan Senko and Marek Svitok (2014)
Fifty years of plant invasion dynamics in Slovakia along a 2,500 m altitudinal gradient
Biological Invasions 16 (8), 1627-1638
Abstract: Knowledge on the main spatiotemporal trends in plant invasions of habitats is essential for a better understanding of the process of these invasions. The aim of this study was to determine the level of plant invasion, represented by relative richness and total cover of archaeophytes and neophytes, in 45 EUNIS habitat types along with spatiotemporal changes in invasion level with increasing altitude and time in Slovakia. In general, the most invaded habitats are those which are highly influenced by human activities. Generalized linear models and generalized linear mixed models were used to assess the associations between habitat-specific invasion level, altitude and time, respectively. There is a general decrease in the relative richness and total cover of archaeophytes and neophytes with increasing altitude in the invaded habitats. There is also an observable temporal trend in archaeophytes shifting from anthropogenic towards more natural habitats. Importantly, the relative neophyte richness has recently been increasing, predominantly in semi-natural and natural habitats, which brings about major concerns for nature conservation. This may be the manifestation of a lag phase in the dispersal of neophytes. However, accompanied with a significant increase in the relative richness of archaeophytes in some natural habitats, it may indicate more complex changes in the invaded habitats and be an early warning sign for ecological degradation of these habitats.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
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