Collating existing evidence on cumulative impacts of invasive plant species in riparian ecosystems of British Columbia, Canada: a systematic map protocol

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Fabio Mologni , Chandra E. Moffat, Jason Pither


Globally, the structure and functioning of foreshore and riparian ecosystems are being dramatically impacted by non-native invasive plant species. Invasive species can outcompete and replace native species, modify geochemical and hydraulic cycles, alter trophic processes, and change the composition and structure of communities above and below ground. However, these impacts are often investigated in isolation, even though one invasive species might increase or mitigate the impacts of others (i.e. cumulative impacts), potentially with cascading effects. Although cumulative impacts have long been studied within other environmental contexts, research on the cumulative impacts of invasive species is comparatively scarce. We aim to develop a protocol to systematically identify and collate evidence on the individual and cumulative impacts of a set of plant species invasive in foreshore and riparian ecosystems of British Columbia, Canada. Our primary question is: What evidence is available on the individual and cumulative impacts of invasive plants in the riparian and foreshore ecosystems of British Columbia, Canada? In addition, our systematic map will identify the strengths and gaps in knowledge pertaining to invasive plant species impacts in foreshore and riparian ecosystems, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the development of evidence-based management strategies.

We identified the research topic and the primary and secondary questions with the support of stakeholders. We then devised a flexible string that allows for searching target invasive species. Using this string, we searched the literature for pilot species that aided the iterative development of the protocol. Once all target species are identified, we will carry out a systematic literature search on their impacts. We will search Web of Science and the CABI compendium for invasive species. We will include studies if they (i) refer to the target invasive species, (ii) focus on its environmental impacts and (iii) investigate such impacts in riparian ecosystems (iv) within North America (i.e. Canada & U.S.A.). We will use a two-stage screening process: titles and abstracts first, then the full manuscript. From each source, we will extract impact description, ecosystem component impacted, and magnitude and directionality of impacts. We will include a publicly available database of studies, descriptive statistics, and a narrative summary within our synthesis outcomes.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Plant Sciences


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Published: 2023-07-22 02:27

Last Updated: 2023-11-16 00:48

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Conflict of interest statement:
Not applicable

Data and Code Availability Statement:
Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study