IMPOVERISHMENT OF SICILIAN (ITALY) HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL ASSETS BY AN ALIEN INSECT SPECIES: THE CASE OF THE RED PALM WEEVIL.

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Abstract

Alien invasive species (IAS) have a disastrous impact on the biodiversity, cultural heritage and economy of a geographic area. The case of the Red Palm Weevil (RPW), an IAS that attacks the non-native palm species Phoenix canariensis, but also native species Chaemerops humilis, especially in urban and peri-urban areas, is reported. These palm trees have played an important role in Sicilian history and cultural heritage since the period of the Arab invasion. The accidental introduction of the RPW has remarkably changed the Sicilian panorama. In this study the chronology and the severity of the effects of RPW on palms so far detected, is reported. In only 7 years the RPW has drastically changed the aesthetic value and perception of the natural and cultural heritage in Sicily. Results suggest that the Precautionary Principle should be applied when IAS may impact on natural and cultural heritage.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)149-165
Numero di pagine17
RivistaConservation Science in Cultural Heritage
Volume12
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2012

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