Researchers warned that protected natural areas around the world should notice potential invasion risks from alien species, according to a recent research article published in the journal Nature Communications.
Protected areas are fundamental to biodiversity conservation, while alien species invasion poses an increasing threat to biodiversity.
The impact of alien species is linked to the declining conservation status of around one-quarter of threatened species, said the research article. Alien species can also contribute to the degradation of ecosystem functions by altering trophic interactions, nutrient cycling and habitat structures.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and University College London investigated the invasion of 894 types of alien animals from 11 taxonomic groups across 199,957 protected areas worldwide.
They found that less than 10 percent of protected areas were invaded by alien species, while at least one wild, established population was observed within 10 to 100 km of the boundaries of 89.4 percent of the protected areas.
Among the protected areas, national parks had more invasive species, according to the research, and more than 95 percent of protected areas were environmentally suitable for the establishment of wild populations.
Results of the research demonstrated that protected areas provide important protection from biological invasions, which still have the potential of becoming an increasingly dominant problem in the near future. (Xinhua)
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