Alien Invasions of the Antarctic Mainland: current knowledge and lessons from the wider Antarctic region and beyond
Type of content
Two species of invasive alien grass species have established themselves on the Antarctic Peninsular. The Antarctic mainland is expected to undergo further spread of these species and introductions of new species as a result of warming caused by climate change and by increased human activity in the area. This report considers the properties and behaviours of invasive species, together with the means by which they reach and establish themselves in new and vulnerable areas, such as ice-free areas of the Antarctic mainland. Specific pathways relating to human activity in the Antarctic are reviewed, alongside some effective controls for reducing the introduction of new plant material into the region by these routes. Consideration is given to control, containment and eradication strategies, including suitable methods of plant removal within the Antarctic context. The existence of seed banks and the likelihood of reinvasion due to local changes which persist after alien populations have been eradicated are discussed. These, together with climate change and increased propagule pressure, point to the importance of ongoing monitoring programmes. Finally, suggestions are made for allocating responsibility for monitoring and responding to current and future non-native plant populations and their timely removal.