Roads Bring Non-native Plants to Wilderness Areas

ROADS LET WEEDS AS WELL AS VEHICLES INVADE

Paved roads into wilderness areas bring in more weed traffic, new studies have found. Non-native plants have found their way into territories new to them by hitching rides with cars and trucks.

Researchers analyzed 42 roads representing a gradient of conditions from mere vehicle tracks to paved surfaces. They found that with each step of improvement the roadside area harboring non-native weeds increased, pushing native habitat further and further from the road.

"These papers are timely in light of the debate concerning protection for roadless habitats in U.S. national forests," said Jonathan Gelbard, doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis.

"They are not only refuges for native biodiversity but also protect against non-native weed invasions, which are costly for ranchers and public agencies."

Thanks to UPI, 4/03

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