Pantelleria is a volcanic island located in the Sicily Channel (Italy), between Sicily and Tunisia. The island, designated a National Park in 2016, hosts an interesting vascular flora of over 600 species including 9 narrow endemics. The island’s incredible biodiversity is, however, at risk due to anthropogenic influences, climate change, and, recently, the presence and spread of alien plant species. The Pantelleria alien flora has never been thoroughly investigated, probably because many non-native species were not yet present or so widespread on the island. Now, however, with the increased general awareness of the risks associated with invasive alien species, documentation of the presence of non-native species has been steadily increasing. In this study, field and literature research was carried out to investigate the alien flora of the island. Here, we report the status of a number of non-native plants with known invasive potential. Cenchrus setaceus (=Pennisetum setaceum) is reported for the first time as naturalized in the island with clear invasive behaviour, while, particularly remarkable for their invasive potential are other studied plants such as: Acacia saligna, Ailanthus altissima, Boheravia coccinea, Carpobrotus edulis, Leucaena leucocephala subsp. glabrata, Malephora crocea, Melia azedarach, Nicotiana glauca, Opuntia ficus-indica, Parkinsonia aculeata, Washingtonia robusta and a few others less important at the moment, but to be monitored. Although most taxa showed a relatively limited distribution, the trend is to observe an increased invasiveness, which indicates that they can potentially become invasive in Pantelleria as well in the next years or decades. Their limited current distribution suggests that these species are in the early stages of the general invasion curve, when intervention is feasible and most likely to succeed. Therefore, it is most prudent to prioritize management for as many potentially problematic nonnatives as possible, which will contribute greatly to the conservation of native species and ecosystems of Pantelleria. Prevention and management of invasive non-native species—both future arrivals and those already present—are necessary to preserve the peculiar volcanic landscape of Pantelleria, which was shaped by man over the last millennia.

The alien vascular flora of the Pantelleria Island National Park (Sicily Channel, Italy): new insights into the distribution of some potentially invasive species

Minissale, Pietro
Primo
;
Cambria, Salvatore;Tavilla, Gianmarco;Giusso del Galdo, Gianpietro;Sciandrello, Saverio;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Pantelleria is a volcanic island located in the Sicily Channel (Italy), between Sicily and Tunisia. The island, designated a National Park in 2016, hosts an interesting vascular flora of over 600 species including 9 narrow endemics. The island’s incredible biodiversity is, however, at risk due to anthropogenic influences, climate change, and, recently, the presence and spread of alien plant species. The Pantelleria alien flora has never been thoroughly investigated, probably because many non-native species were not yet present or so widespread on the island. Now, however, with the increased general awareness of the risks associated with invasive alien species, documentation of the presence of non-native species has been steadily increasing. In this study, field and literature research was carried out to investigate the alien flora of the island. Here, we report the status of a number of non-native plants with known invasive potential. Cenchrus setaceus (=Pennisetum setaceum) is reported for the first time as naturalized in the island with clear invasive behaviour, while, particularly remarkable for their invasive potential are other studied plants such as: Acacia saligna, Ailanthus altissima, Boheravia coccinea, Carpobrotus edulis, Leucaena leucocephala subsp. glabrata, Malephora crocea, Melia azedarach, Nicotiana glauca, Opuntia ficus-indica, Parkinsonia aculeata, Washingtonia robusta and a few others less important at the moment, but to be monitored. Although most taxa showed a relatively limited distribution, the trend is to observe an increased invasiveness, which indicates that they can potentially become invasive in Pantelleria as well in the next years or decades. Their limited current distribution suggests that these species are in the early stages of the general invasion curve, when intervention is feasible and most likely to succeed. Therefore, it is most prudent to prioritize management for as many potentially problematic nonnatives as possible, which will contribute greatly to the conservation of native species and ecosystems of Pantelleria. Prevention and management of invasive non-native species—both future arrivals and those already present—are necessary to preserve the peculiar volcanic landscape of Pantelleria, which was shaped by man over the last millennia.
2023
alien plant species, conservation, Cenchrus setaceus, first record, habitat, island biogeography, invasive species management
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/581149
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