Potential distribution and management of the invasive weed Solanum carolinense in Central Europe
Agriculture, climate, CLIMEX, horse nettle, mapping, spread, weed control
Follak S & Strauss G (2010). Potential distribution and management of the invasive weed Solanum carolinense in Central Europe. Weed Research 50, 544–552. Summary Solanum carolinense is a serious weed from North America that has recently invaded crop fields in Austria and Italy. In this study, a climate suitability analysis using the CLIMEX model was carried out, to assess the potential distribution of S. carolinense in Central Europe, to identify areas at risk of an invasion and to derive an efficient management strategy. In North America, the plant currently occupies almost its full range of suitable climates. In contrast, S. carolinense occurs only rarely as a ruderal plant and weed in several countries of Central Europe. The projections of climatic suitability under current climate reveal considerable scope for further invasion. The land area climatically suitable for S. carolinense is highest in Hungary (100% of the total land area), Poland (83.6%), followed by Slovenia (70.5%), Slovakia (64.5%), Germany (41.5%), Czech Republic (37.0%), Austria (34.9%) and Switzerland (16.6%). Solanum carolinense has a high capacity for spatial dispersal by natural means and different human-mediated pathways. Thus, it is likely that the plant will expand its range and infest cultivated land, particularly around existing naturalised populations. A management strategy is warranted, including early detection and eradication of nascent foci of S. carolinense, to contain the plant to its current restricted distribution and to limit the chances for further spread of this invasive weed to other agricultural areas. The widespread occurrence of this species would have serious consequences for agriculture.