Ailanthus is a fast-growing, ecologically dominant plant, a successful pioneer of open habitats, including natural habitats of high conservation value, where it is outcompeting native plants and changing the habitat structure. It has high reproduction and dispersal potential: a single mature female tree produces 325,000 winged seeds yearly, which are easily transported by wind and water to great distances.
Once established, Ailanthus grows in dense monocultures. In addition, it produces various herbicidal substances, of which ailanthone is best known. The accumulation of these herbicidal compounds in the soil surrounding Ailanthus stands prevents the growth of native plants and directly and indirectly affects the soil fauna.
In addition to its impact on the biodiversity of natural habitats, Ailanthus can have an economic impact and impact on human health. It commonly grows in cities and other anthropogenic habitats, where its toxic compounds can cause allergic reactions, respiratory problems, skin rashes, and other health problems in local human populations. Its long and aggressive root system can damage infrastructure, including pavements, roads, buildings, and cultural heritage.
In agriculture, especially in the Mediterranean cultures such as olive orchards, vineyards, and fruit orchards, Ailanthus is a resilient and aggressive pest.