Assessing escapes from short rotation plantations of the invasive tree species Robinia pseudoacacia L. in Mediterranean ecosystems: a study in central Italy

Riccardo Guarino, Roberto Crosti, Emiliano Agrillo, Anna Testi, Lorenzo Ciccarese, Pierluigi Paris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) is a fast growing tree species native to temperate North America, and widely diffused and naturalized in Europe. It is one of the candidate species for establishing bioenergy plantations on mar- ginal lands in temperate and sub-Mediterranean regions. This potential is in contrast to its well-known invasive habit, leading to a potential damage to plant biodiversity in many European countries. Advise against black locust plantation in regions where it is already invasive has been issued by several international reports, as well as the adoption of mitigation measures (e.g., “containment” buffer zones) to prevent the spread of the species into natural and semi-natural habitats. In the Mediterranean basin, however, no studies have been carried out aimed at quantifying the escape rate of black locust saplings from plantation stands and its recruitment into natural habitats, together with the effectiveness of a buffer zone in reducing the spread. In this study we investigated the spread of black locust along 35 transects surround- ing three 20-year- old plantations and including three different land cover types: abandoned arable land, semi-natural woodland and a buffer zone (orchards) with a low degree of farming input. In addition, the effect of soil disturbance on seed propagation was investigated. Our results demonstrate that the density of black locust regeneration is strongly affected by the land cover, abandoned agricultural land being the most prone to black locust colo- nization. Contrastingly, the spread was minimal in the buffer zone and negligi- ble in semi-natural woodland. During the investigated year, seed generative propagation was also negligible. The semi-natural woodland seems to resist well to black locust invasion, though further observations are needed to assess the consequences of stand harvesting disturbance as well, according to local standard forest management. Buffer zones seem to be very effective in con- trolling black locust invasion. Best management practices, with active farming inputs, are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing escapes from short rotation plantations of the invasive tree species Robinia pseudoacacia L. in Mediterranean ecosystems: a study in central Italy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this