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The genus Acacia as invader: the characteristic case of Acacia dealbata Link in Europe

Le genre Acacia comme envahisseur : caractéristiques du cas Acacia dealbata Link en Europe

Abstract

  • • We review current knowledge about the biology of the genus Acacia, and Acacia dealbata Link (silver wattle) in particular, as an invader in Europe, focusing on (i) the biology of the genus Acacia; (ii) biological attributes that are important for the invasiveness of the genus and A. dealbata; (iii) possible hypotheses for the invasion success; and (iv) control methods.

  • • Several Australian wattles have been recorded as naturalized in Europe. Acacia has attained pest proportions in certain habitats and protected sites (notably coastal dunes, river courses, natural parks and biosphere reserves).

  • • The spread of Acacia dealbata seems to be assisted by human interference such as soil disturbance and severe fires. The biological attributes favoring invasion by A. dealbata include tolerance of changing soil conditions, the ability to take advantage of environmental disturbance, phenotypic plasticity, vegetative reproduction, fire tolerance and allelopathic potential.

  • • Different hypotheses explaining invasiveness and transition between invasion steps related to biological attributes as the key factor for A. dealbata invasion are discussed. Effects on the biodiversity of native flora are little understood and studies of suppression of autochthonous species are needed. It is desirable that further studies comparing Acacia at field sites in their native and exotic range should be done.

  • • Understanding the biology of invasive wattles in Europe is the first step to an effective control method. Studies comparing plant invaders at field sites in their native and invaded areas seem to be most appropriate in order to be able to attack the most vulnerable stages.

Résumé

  • • Nous passons en revue les connaissances actuelles sur la biologie du genre Acacia et de Acacia dealbata Link, en particulier comme un envahisseur en Europe, en mettant l’accent sur : (i) la biologie du genre Acacia ; (ii) les attributs biologiques qui sont importants pour le caractère envahissant du genre et d’A. dealbata; (iii) les hypothèses possibles pour la réussite de l’invasion et (iv) les méthodes de contrôle.

  • • Plusieurs acacias australiens ont été enregistrés comme naturalisés en Europe. Acacia a atteint la proportion de nuisible dans certains habitats et sites protégés (notamment des dunes côtières, des cours d’eau, des parcs naturels et des réserves de la biosphère).

  • • La propagation de l’Acacia dealbata semble avoir été aidée par l’intervention humaine, telle que la perturbation des sols et de graves incendies. Les attributs biologiques favorisant l’invasion par A. dealbata incluent la tolérance aux changements des conditions du sol, la capacité à tirer profit des perturbations de l’environnement, la plasticité phénotypique, la reproduction végétative, la tolérance au feu, et le potentiel allélopathique.

  • • Différentes hypothèses expliquant le caractère invasif et la transition entre les phases de l’invasion en relation avec les attributs biologiques comme facteur clé pour l’invasion d’A. dealbata sont discutées. Les effets sur la biodiversité de la flore sont mal compris et des études sur la suppression des espèces autochtones sont nécessaires. Il est souhaitable que d’autres études comparant Acacia sur le terrain dans leurs sites et dans des régions exotiques soient faites.

  • • Comprendre la biologie des espèces d’Acacia invasives en Europe est la première étape d’une méthode de contrôle efficace. Les études comparant les envahisseurs végétaux sur le terrain dans leurs sites et dans les zones envahies semblent être plus appropriées afin d’être en mesure d’attaquer les étapes les plus vulnérables.

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Lorenzo, P., González, L. & Reigosa, M.J. The genus Acacia as invader: the characteristic case of Acacia dealbata Link in Europe. Ann. For. Sci. 67, 101 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1051/forest/2009082

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