Invasive species: interdisciplinarity, ecosystem (dis)services, and aesthetics

Announcing a series of new publications on “invasive species”, all from the Socio-ecology of Acacia project in which I participated (funded by SESYNC and two German research institutes). Here’s why they are interesting:

On ecosystem services and disservices:  the topic of “invasive species” and “ecosystem services” push each other to confront their biases. Not all invaders are bad when viewed from an ecosystem service perspective; not all ecosystem services are good when viewed from an invasive species perspective.  We propose a typology for dealing with both ecosystem services and disservices.

On interdisciplinarity: we demonstrate, using bibliometric data, how research on biological invasions has unsurprisingly been predominantly ecological, and argue for the importance of research that crosses the social-ecological divide, with more balanced participation of social scientists and practitioners.

On aesthetics: we critique the idea of “aesthetics” as a category of ecosystem services, arguing that this conception hides all the complex social and psychological processes by which different people perceive and judge nature.

The papers emerge from a series of very productive encounters of the project team in Annapolis, Porto, Halle, and Leipzig.  Thank you to the project leaders, Christoph Kueffer and Dave Richardson, for inviting me to participate, and to all the participants for the stimulating ideas and hard work!


Vaz, AS, C Kueffer, CA Kull, DM Richardson, JR Vicente, I Kühn, M Schröter, J Hauck, A Bonn & JP Honrado (2017) Integrating ecosystem services and disservices: insights from plant invasions. Ecosystem Services 23:94-107. link pdf

Vaz, AS, C Kueffer, CA Kull, DM Richardson, S Schindler, AJ Muñoz-Pajares, JR Vicente, J Martins, C Hui, I Kühn & JP Honrado (2017) The progress of interdisciplinarity in invasion science. Ambio 10.1007/s13280-017-0897-7. link pdf

Kueffer, C & CA Kull (2017) Non-native species and the aesthetics of nature. Pp. 311-324 in M Vilà & PE Hulme (eds.) Impact of Biological Invasions on Ecosystem Services. Berlin: Springer. author-version pdf


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