- Autores: Ascensão F, Capinha C
- Ano de Publicação: 2017
- Journal: Railway Ecology
- Link: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-57496-7_5
Biological invasions are a major component of global environmental change, threatening biodiversity and human well-being. These invasions have their origin in the human-mediated transportation of species beyond natural distribution ranges. This is a process that has increased by orders of magnitude in recent decades as a result of accelerating rates of international trade, travel, and transport.
The authors address the role that overland transportation corridors, particularly railways, have in the transport of non-native species. They focused specifically on the role of rail vehicles in dispersing stowaway species. This species moved inadvertently and are not specific to the commodities being transported. In addition, focused on the natural dispersal and establishment of non-native species along railway edges. The authors placed these processes in the context of biological invasions as a global phenomenon and provide examples from the literature.
Furthermore, they also list general management recommendations for biological invasions highlighting the particularities associated with their management in railway transport systems. Following previous studies, they briefly outline four possible management approaches: (1) “Do nothing;” (2) “Manage propagule supply;” (3) “Manage railway environments;” and (4) “Act over the invasive populations directly”. These approaches are not mutually exclusive. They range from an expectation that natural processes (e.g. ecological succession) will drive the invaders out of the ecosystems, to the application of measures to extirpate the invaders directly (e.g. manual removal).
The authors highlight that best practices for the management of invaders in railway-related systems may be difficult to generalize and that they may have to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, they end by stressing that research on railways in the context of biological invasions remains scarce. Because of that fundamental knowledge for understanding the relative importance of this transport system in the dispersal of species and on how this process should be dealt with remains largely lacking.