To study the effect of exotic plants on the ecosystem, a group of researchers led by PD Dr Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury, member of the Ecological Networks Study Group of the TU Darmstadt Biology Department, conducted a large field study in Seychelles. They selected eight inselbergs on Mahé which is Seychelles' largest island and from four of these inselbergs, the team removed all exotic plants such as cinnamon and eucalyptus, while leaving the native plants undisturbed. Over a period of eight months, they observed that there was a significant increase in the pollinator species (22%), pollinator species visited plants more often (an increase of 23%), and native plants flowered more (17% increase). The researchers also noted that the pollinator and plant relationship changed too – the pollinator species became less selective during pollination. The native plants thrived better without the exotic ones competing for nutrients. It is also possible that the thinned vegetation aided the increase in pollination. The findings prove that ecological restoration is possible and throws light on the subtle yet important factors that affect the ecosystem.
Read more in Science Daily.