Tree invasions: patterns, processes, challenges and opportunities
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Tree invasions have escalated in importance in the last few decades (more species, greater area invaded, more types of impacts, increasing complexity of management challenges), and are increasingly studied from many perspectives. This research spans many disciplines, including ecology, population biology, genetics, remote sensing, ecological modelling, risk analysis, resource economics and, increasingly, the humanities. There has been substantial progress in understanding patterns and processes, but many unanswered questions remain. Only a few invasive trees have been well studied, many of them in only a small part of their invasive range. Invasive trees often have substantial impacts, especially when they invade formerly treeless vegetation. Trees have several features that make them useful for understanding key aspects of biological invasions (the determinants of invasiveness and invasibility), but also the full spectrum of human perceptions and values that frames biological invasions as an environmental problem. This editorial provides background and summarizes the main outputs from a workshop held in Argentina in September 2012 that set out to summarize current knowledge on key topics and to determine the most important challenges facing researchers and managers. The sixteen papers in the special issue of Biological Invasions span disciplines, geographic regions and taxa and provide novel insights on pathways and historical perspectives, detection and monitoring, determinants of invasiveness, function and impact, and the many challenges that face managers.