Invasive plants affecting protected areas in West Africa: management for reduction of risk for biodiversity

pic1Biological invasion of biodiversity in protected areas is a complex problem because, first of all, it is often difficult to distinguish a new (alien) species of plant when it is in amongst the native vegetation that is being conserved: this is often a specialist’s skill and such specialists are rarely available when needed. It is also difficult because awareness about the extent and range of invasive species in PAs is often limited to a few people (often at senior levels) who are too busy to make the necessary monitoring possible that is needed to recognize alien and possibly invasive species. Also, there are often conflicts over whether an invading plant can be used rather than removed – for various uses that seem to outweigh the threats to biodiversity. Then, even if such species are recognized and a decision is made to reduce or remove their negative impacts, solutions are not always known or available… or is not a priority for PA management.

The purpose of this study is to take a first step of recognizing some of the more common plants that could be invasive in a range of PAs in dry to wet areas.

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