Management of invasive alien species in Spain: A bibliometric review

Muñoz-Mas, Rafael; Carrete, Martina; Castro-Díez, Pilar; Delibes-Mateos, Miguel; Jaques, Josep A.; López-Darias, Marta; Nogales, Manuel; Pino, Joan; Traveset, Anna; Turon, Xavier; Vilà, Montserrat; García-Berthou, Emili. NeoBiota 70: 123-150 (2021)  DIGITAL CSIC

Scientific and grey literature on invasive alien species (IAS) is conditioned by social, economic and political priorities, editorial preferences and species and ecosystem characteristics. This leads to knowledge gaps and mismatches between scientific research interests and management needs. We reviewed the literature on IAS management in Spain found in Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar and Dialnet to identify key deficiencies and priority research areas. The collected literature was classified, employing features describing formal aspects and content. We used bibliometric and keyword co-occurrence network analyses to assess the relationship between features and reveal the existence of additional topics. Most of the compiled documents (n = 388) were focused on terrestrial ecosystems and inland waters, whereas marine and urban ecosystems were under-represented. The literature was largely generic and not species-specific, focusing on raising awareness and proposing changes on current regulation as prominent approaches to prevent further introductions. The compiled authors exhibited many clear publishing preferences (e.g. language or document type), but less regarding target taxa. In addition, there was a strong association between species and the different features considered, especially between the methodological approach (e.g. review, field experiment) and the primary emphasis of study (i.e. basic/theoretical, applied or interdisciplinary). This indicates that research on IAS has had a strong species-specific focus. References about terrestrial species focused mainly on vascular plants, whereas references about inland waters were mostly on fishes and the giant reed (Arundo donax), which has been managed with partial success. Animal culling and plant removal were the most frequent eradication and small-scale control treatments, whereas the documents addressing wider spatial scales were largely theoretical. Consequently, the success of described treatments was largely uncertain. Spanish invasion science research has been occasionally innovative, incorporating novel technologies (e.g. species distribution modelling) and engaging society with citizenscience approaches. However, the ratio between basic/theoretical and applied studies indicates that more applied research/management is needed, especially in inland waters and marine ecosystems. We call for increasing effort in the effective dissemination of experience in IAS management to enhance current practical knowledge, including that of schemes undertaken by public agencies.