Department of Ecology, Ecosystem Science/Plant Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, D-12165 Berlin, Germany
Widespread invasive plant species can negatively affect biodiversity and are thus often subject to legal regulations, prevention and control. Yet, these actions require substantial resources, do not guarantee success, and carry the risk of losing the benefits that may be associated with invasive species. Therefore, I advocate for the increased use of multiple responses to invasive species. These responses should be evidence-based and consider the context dependence of invasion processes, associated risks and benefits, as well as, the underlying societal values, including the aim of biodiversity conservation. The case of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven), a widespread invasive tree species in Europe and beyond, exemplifies limitations of a general ban of invasive species since invasion risks and invasion impacts cannot be generalized for natural, rural or urban ecosystems. The case of A. altissima further shows significant advantages to be obtained with multiple responses to widespread invasive species. These findings can be useful in adapting regulations or management plans for A. altissima and other widespread invasive plant species.