Forest structure and anthropogenic disturbances regulate plant invasion in urban forests

This scientific article is a result of the research on urban environment focusing Kathmandu Valley led and conducted by Environment Protection and Study Center (ENPROSC)’s team member Mr. Prakash Chandra Aryal. The research boasts of fair share of contributions from second ENPROSC’s member, Mr. Chandramani Aryal as well. It was published in the Journal ‘Urban Ecosystems’ a journal from Springer in August 2021. Read an abstract below or click on the provided link to redirect to the main article.

Urban forest ecosystems, the structure, and functions therein are subjected to anthropogenic disturbances. Native and sensitive species from those forests might be lost due to such disturbances. At the same time, supplemented anthropogenic resources might create opportunities for exotic and invasive species. Although invasive species are considered one of the major threats to the urban biodiversity and ecosystems, the research on invasion dynamics in the Himalayas has primarily focused on the impacts of invasion on forest structure and productivity. This study aims to understand the influence of forest structure and anthropogenic factors in invasion success that are poorly covered in the existing literature. We selected 11 urban forest patches for the study considering the presence-absence of selected invasive species and structural attributes. We used Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to reduce co-linearity in the covariates and generalized linear mixed effects model (GLMM) to identify the factors affecting invasion success. We found that forest structural attributes, namely, tree diameter, height and canopy cover, and anthropogenic disturbances regulate invasion success in urban forests. This implies that maintaining urban forest structural attributes, especially the stands with large-sized trees, is essential to control invasion in the context of urbanization.