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Control of invasive alien species

banner Ailanthus

Biological invasions are a problem of great importance for the conservation of global biodiversity (Mack et al., 2000). Invasive species are a major threat to our natural environment because they can change entire habitats, threatening ecosystems, altering the relationships between species (Traveset and Santamaria 2004) and replacing native species (Simberloff, 2001). Many of these invasive species are expanding their geographic range and can cause ecological and economic problems of great importance (Simberloff, 2002). Currently it is considered that biological invasions are a major cause of biodiversity loss in the world, only behind habitat destruction and fragmentation of the landscape (Williamson, 1996). However, the study of biological invasions and their effects on ecosystems is a relatively new field that, while it feeds on many scientific disciplines, it still requires more time to mature concepts, and working hypotheses study protocols (Castro-Díez et al., 2004).

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle is a major invasive alien species in the Natural Park of Font Roja, taking stands in different ecosystems of the countryside, preferably in the shady and ravines, but finding stands scattered throughout its territory, especially near farms and areas for public use. It has been cited as an invasive species with the greatest impact on Mediterranean islands (Lloret et al., 2004). It is a tree from the N to China, introduced in Valencia for ornamental purposes in gardens and for fixing the slopes in construction, but can naturalize and colonize new territory with ease. The need for control and eradication has been gathered by the management tools and PRUG PORN Natural Park of Font Roja (Decree 121/2004 DOGV 4801). This plant is very strong and very rapid development. Although it is a dioecious tree, with a high reproductive capacity and spread their samaras anemocorous favors dissemination. Moreover, its root system gives it a high capacity for regrowth, so the usual practice of clearing that have been applied to the natural park foster further expansion.

This line of research aims to deepen the knowledge about a) the current distribution and structure of existing populations of Ailanthus high in the natural park, b) potential distribution patterns of the species in the natural space, and c) establishment of protocols for eradication in the territory PRUG, and control in PORN territory and areas of influence of PN Carrascal de la Font Roja.

The Natural Municpal Racó-Canalons Bonaventura, in the municipality of Alcoy is a natural protected area included in the PN PORN Carrascal de la Font Roja. The control of invasive species in aquatic ecosystems is another line of investigation and action of the ECFRN, especially the control of exotic freshwater crayfish American.

Control AilanthusMapa propagación Ailanthus

Major projects

2006-08: Management of ecosystems and biodiversity (VIGROB064), University of Alicante. PI: BELLOT ABAD, JUAN FRANCISCO

from 2006 to 2007: Ecological bases for the control of invasive species in the Park Ailantus altissima Natural del Carrascal de la Font Roja (GV06/029). Department of Business and Science University. PI: JORNET BONET, ANDREU

from 2008 to 1910: Restoration of degraded vegetation cover in the dry-semiarid transition (Recuva 077/RN08/04.1) Ministry of Environment. Partners: FUNDACION CEAM. PI: CORTINA I SEGARRA, JORDI

2007-10: Restoration Strategies to combat desertification in the context of climate change. Effects of water balance (Stress 063/SGTB/2007/7.1). Ministry of Environment. Partners: FUNDACION CEAM. PI: BAUTISTA AGUILAR, SUSANA

2008-09: Elimination of invasive alien species Municipal Natural Park of Sant Bonaventura Racó-Canalons Alcoi. Type of contract: Provision Abridged. Alcoy Council. PI: JORNET BONET, ANDREU


Research Station Font Roja Natura UA

Universidad de Alicante
Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n
03690 San Vicente del Raspeig
Alicante (Spain)

Tel: (+34) 96 590 3400

Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464


For further information:, and for enquiries on this web server:

Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n - 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig - Alicante - Tel. 96 590 3400 - Fax 96 590 3464