Department of Biology
UNIVERSITY of FRIBOURG

Checklist of alien invasive plant species of Georgia

The Flora of Georgia is amongst the richest in Europe and comprises approximately 4100 species of higher plants. Preliminary observations indicate that this extraordinary wealth of plant diversity is now greatly threatened by the spread of alien plants, which has especially increased due to changes in land use, cross-country pipeline construction, and habitat destruction.

A joint research project between Georgia and Switzerland aimed to survey the alien plants (AP) of Georgia in expected sensitive habitats across all accessible historical-geographical regions across Georgia. We restricted our survey to seed plants (Gymnospermae and Angiospermae) and naturalized species, thus excluding alien crop or ornamental plants that have not escaped from cultivation.
     
In our collaborative studies, we give special emphasis to some of the most invasive plants, especially Phytolacca americana(Pokeweed), Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Common Ragweed) and Robinia pseudoacacia (Black Locust). These studies allowed us to roughly estimate the abundance, distribution and invasive potential of AP in Georgia, to identify habitats most susceptible to invasions, and to assess the invasion impact of selected AP. Such basic knowledge is also a pre-requisite for potential subsequent biological control measures.

 

Collaborators at th University of Fribourg

  • Daniela Thalmann (MSc student)
  • Heinz Müller-Schärer (PI)

Collaborators In Georgia

  • David Kikodze · Georgian Academy of Sciences · Tbilisi · Georgia · (Co-PI)
  • Zurab Manvelidze · University of Batumi · Batumi · Georgia
  • David Kharazishvili · PhD student
  • Liana Khetsuriani · senior researcher

Publications 

Click on the title page to get the pdf of this Brochure: KikodzeD, Memiadze N, Kharazishvili D, Manvelidze Z and Mueller-Schaerer H. 2010. The alien flora of Georgia. Joint SNSF SCOPES and FOEN publication.

Funding

  • This research was funded by SCOPES (Scientific Co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland, a research programme of the Swiss National Science Foundation (2006-2009).

 

Present and Future Studies

Present studies (2008-2012) concentrate on management measures for Ambrosia artemisiifolia,especially in pipeline corridors across the country, with partial funding by British Petroleum.

  • Survey and control options for invasive Ambrosia artemisiifolia recorded from pipeline right-of-ways and adjacent crops in Georgia (2009-2011)

  • Financed by British Petroleum
  • NCCR participation: Heinz Müller-Schärer
    with support from the Guisan Lab

 

Below: predicted potential distribution of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Georgia 

A further project deals with present and expected future biodiversity impact of invasive plants in Georgia (cf MSc thesis by Daniela Thalmann).

Ecology & Evolution - ch du musée - 1700 Fribourg - Tel +41 26 / 300 8835 - Fax +41 26 / 300 9741
heinz.mueller[at]unifr.ch - Swiss University