Impacts of invasive alien plants on land degradation and sustainable
Land resources are finite, comprised with biophysical complexities
(biodiversity, soil, and water resources), vital in sustenance of life.
However, multiple anthropogenic disturbances transmogrified the global
landscapes with spread of invasive alien plants (IAPs), and perturbed
the land-biophysical components, thereby triggering the ecosystem
degradation. Nevertheless, the interrelationship of IAPs with land
degradation and sustainable restoration is not well established.
Furthermore, the restoration challenges of IAPs driven land degradation
is also exacerbated under the event of climate change. In this review,
the adverse impacts of IAPs on biophysical components of land resources
are discussed to explicitly assess the drivers of ecosystem degradation.
Restoration efforts of degraded lands should be therefore targeted to
revitalize the associated biophysical complexities. Further, the
explicit study on the effects of IAPs on plant-soil and plant-soil
microbe interactions need to be at the heart of sustainable land or
ecosystem restoration strategies. Several studies refused the blanket
condemnation of IAPs in ecosystem restoration, ascribed to co-benefits
(bioenergy, phytoremediation, biopolymers, and ethnomedicines),
inextricably linked with the coverage of financial incentives.
Nevertheless, the use of IAPs in ecological restoration needs pragmatic
evaluation in terms of long-term ecosystem effects. To this end, the
incorporation of ‘hybrid technology’, integrating scientific information
with traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), can be the founding
principle of sustainable ecosystem restoration and rural livelihood.
Importantly, holistic approach in restoration of degraded lands in
concert with ‘circular economy’ can remarkably influence in achieving
the target of UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) and UN Decade
on Ecosystem Restoration (UN-DER) (2021-30).