Perennial plant recovery after the removal of invasive Pinus halepensis in coastal habitats in Cádiz, southern Spain

  • Published source details García-de-Lomas J., Rendón J.L., Pacheco M.J., Riches Z.O.V. & López J.M. (2023) Perennial plant recovery after the removal of invasive Pinus halepensis in coastal habitats in Cádiz, southern Spain. Conservation Evidence, 20, 47-54.


Aleppo pine Pinus halepensis is a tree native to the Mediterranean basin. Even within its native range, P. halepensis may behave as an invasive species when planted beyond the original forest areas. Despite its potentially negative effects on the receiving ecosystems, little is known about the response of native plant communities following removal of P. halepensis. In southern Spain, P. halepensis plantings are outcompeting native shrubland communities (Juniperus spp.), which are home to several endangered and protected species. We present the results of an intervention to control the spread of P. halepensis in an area of coastal dunes at the La Breña y Marismas del Barbate Natural Park, Cádiz, southern Spain in 2016. An area of 22.4 ha of P. haplensis cover was removed using portable chainsaws and a forwarder. We analysed the species richness and composition of native perennial plant species recorded three and six years after the removal of P. halepensis in treated, invaded and uninvaded areas. Removal of P. halepensis increased the cover of perennial grasses and woody shrubs typical of sun-exposed areas, such as esparto grass Stipa tenacissima, rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis, turbith Globularia alypum, white-leaved rock-rose Cistus albidus and the shrub Anthyllis citisoides. We conclude that P. halepensis removal promotes coastal shrub recovery. We recommend periodic rounds of manual, selective control every three to five years to avoid reinvasion.


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