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Risks, impacts and management of invasive plant species in Vietnam

Truong, Thi Anh Tuyet (2019) Risks, impacts and management of invasive plant species in Vietnam. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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In Southeast Asia, research on invasive plant species (IPS) is limited and biased by geography, research foci and approaches. This may hinder understanding of the extent of invasion problems and effective management to prevent and control IPS. Because biological invasions are a complicated issue involving multiple disciplines, this thesis utilized diverse approaches to evaluate risk, impacts, and management of IPS in Vietnam. Distribution models of 14 species predicted that large areas of Vietnam are susceptible to IPS, particularly in parts bordering China. Native IPS, which are often overlooked in assessment, posed similar risks as non-native IPS. From the model results, a native grass Microstegium ciliatum was selected to quantify its impacts on tree regeneration in secondary forests. A field experiment in Cuc Phuong National Park found that tree seedling abundance and richness increased within one year of grass removal; this effect strengthened in the second year. These results highlight the impacts of IPS on tree regeneration and the importance of IPS management to forest restoration projects. Given the risks and impacts of IPS, strategic management is needed to achieve conservation goals in national parks (NPs). However, interviews with both state and non-state entities revealed poor and reactive management of IPS in Vietnamese NPs from national to local levels. Institutional arrangements challenge IPS management in Vietnam. Involvement of multiple sectors with unclear mandates leads to overlaps in responsibilities and makes collaboration among sectors difficult. Lack of top-down support from the national level (legislation, guidance, resources) and limited power at the local level weakens implementation and ability of NPs to respond to IPS. The findings of this thesis provide important information for achieving effective management of IPS in Vietnam. Knowledge of vulnerable areas and species likely to invade and cause impacts can help Vietnam efficiently allocate management resources to prevent and control IPS, but adjustments to institutional arrangements and enhanced cooperation may be necessary to ensure management occurs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Supervisor(s): Andrew, Margaret
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