Plant invasions, tourists and climate change
Weed diversity and cover decreases with increasing altitude in many mountain regions including the Australian Alps. Outside of Europe, much of the alpine weed floras are European plants that have often either been deliberately or accidentally introduced by humans. In the Australia Alps this includes using European plants in gardens, ski resorts and for rehabilitating sites. Weed seed has also been dispersed accidentally on vehicles and tourist's footwear and clothing. Experiential research indicates that what people wear, where and when they go walking influence the number and diversity of seeds dispersed. Tourists can transport large amounts of seed over long distances (>5km) within the Australian Alps, but do not appear to introduce many new weeds into the region. The rate of attachment and the distance dispersed varies dramatically among weeds. Based on seed attachment and dispersal rates and the numbers and activities of tourists, the total amount of seed that may be introduced to an alpine area by tourists has been modelled. Projected climatic changes including reduced snow cover, and warmer and dryer summers will benefit weeds, as will associated changes in tourism as ski resorts diversify into year round destination.
Global Change and the World’s Mountains
Plant Biology not elsewhere classified
Natural Resource Management
Impacts of Tourism