Misinformation, internet honey trading and beekeepers drive a plant invasion
AuthorLenda, M; Skorka, P; Kuszewska, K; Moron, D; Belcik, M; Baczek Kwinta, R; Janowiak, F; Duncan, DH; Vesk, PA; Possingham, HP; ...
Source TitleEcology Letters
AffiliationSchool of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLenda, M., Skorka, P., Kuszewska, K., Moron, D., Belcik, M., Baczek Kwinta, R., Janowiak, F., Duncan, D. H., Vesk, P. A., Possingham, H. P. & Knops, J. M. H. (2020). Misinformation, internet honey trading and beekeepers drive a plant invasion. ECOLOGY LETTERS, 24 (2), pp.165-169. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13645.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
Biological invasions are a major human induced global change that is threatening global biodiver-sity by homogenizing the world’s fauna and ﬂora. Species spread because humans have movedspecies across geographical boundaries and have changed ecological factors that structure ecosys-tems, such as nitrogen deposition, disturbance, etc. Many biological invasions are caused acciden-tally, as a byproduct of human travel and commerce driven product shipping. However, humansalso have spread many species intentionally because of perceived beneﬁts. Of interest is the role ofthe recent exponential growth in information exchange via internet social media in driving biologi-cal invasions. To date, this has not been examined. Here, we show that for one such invasive spe-cies, goldenrod, social networks spread misleading and incomplete information that is enhancingthe spread of goldenrod invasions into new environments. We show that the notion of goldenrodhoney as a “superfood” with unsupported healing properties is driving a demand that leads bee-keepers to produce goldenrod honey. Social networks provide a forum for such informationexchange and this is leading to further spread of goldenrod in many countries where goldenrod isnot native, such as Poland. However, this informal social information exchange ignores laws thatfocus on preventing the further spread of invasive species and the strong negative effects thatgoldenrod has on native ecosystems, including ﬂoral resources that negatively impact honeybeeperformance. Thus, scientiﬁcally unsupported information on “superfoods” such as goldenrodhoney that is disseminated through social internet networks has real world consequences such asincreased goldenrod invasions into novel geographical regions which decreases native biodiversity.
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