One day, Jonas Lembrechts (Global Change Ecology, Reserach Group Plants and Ecosystems) received a beautifully illustrated book about the exotic flora of Chile from one of his Chilean colleagues. A gift that unexpectedly turned out to be useful for mapping the vegetation along Flemish roads. Indeed, risky exotics in the Andes are simply labeled as 'weeds' here in Belgium: dandelions, clovers, roadside grass, and so much more... In a new paper, Lembrechts, together with his South American colleagues, pursues these weed species in the Andes. In this blog, you can read all about it. What is already known about exotic plant species in the Andes and, more importantly, what needs to happen now? Discover the collaborative efforts of scientists to address this growing problem, shedding light on patterns and drivers of invasions. Find out how disturbances, rather than climate, promote non-native diversity at surprisingly high altitudes. It quickly becomes clear that the Andes region is grappling with the challenges of managing these intruders amid increasing anthropogenic pressure and climate change.
Photo credits: Jonas Lembrechts