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The largest area of intact vegetation in the Mascarene archipelago is found on La Réunion Island. However, biological invasions are one of the main threats to the biodiversity on this island and globally worldwide. This study aims to spatialize, coordinate, and prioritize conservation issues and invasive alien plants clearing on the island. For this, our approach involved three steps based on existing data and expert knowledge. First, thanks to collective work between researchers and managers, we combined existing data on natural environments, endemic species, and invasive alien plants species. These data allowed us to identify the spatial distribution of biodiversity and threats and to realize the first map of invasion level at the island scale. Secondly, we used a spatial prioritization software, Zonation, for identifying different scenarios of conservation issues. These conservation issues were selected to maximize biodiversity representativeness in lightly invaded areas. Finally, the conservation issues and some operational criteria were used to prioritize clearing of alien plants. Almost 40% of the remaining natural habitats on La Réunion Island are moderately to heavily invaded. We identify 58,500 ha as conservation priorities areas of which 30% are considered as non-invaded. We will discuss how this will influence future alien plant clearing programs at La Réunion.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program
Society for Ecological Restoration