Temperate trees and shrubs as global invaders: the relationship between invasiveness and native distribution depends on biological traits.
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Many woody plants have been recently recognized as major invasive species with serious impacts on species diversity and functioning of invaded ecosystems. We evaluated the global invasion success of temperate trees and shrubs with native ranges in central Europe and explored the role of their native distribution and that of biological traits in determining whether they have become invasive in other parts of the world. Of the 94 species forming the source-area species pool, 27% are known to be invasive in at least one region of the world. Generalized linear models on phylogenetically non-informed analyses revealed that tall woody plants flowering early in the season, and occupying many grid cells in the native range are significantly more likely to become successful invaders than species not possessing these traits. However, other traits can partly reduce the disadvantages resulting from low regional frequencies in the native range and consequent lower probability of them being introduced elsewhere. Species that do not depend for reproduction on another individual, those pollinated by wind and dispersed by animals are likely to become invasive even if they do not have extensive native distributions. However, of these traits only the regional frequency in the native range remained significant when phylogenetic relationships were taken into account. This indicates that the effect of the regional frequency is generic, valid across all woody species, and fine-tuned by advantageous biological traits inherited from common ancestors, shared by groups of phylogenetically related species. Traits that only appeared significant in the phylogenetically non-informed analyses should be considered as specific for shrubs and trees of central Europe. Mode of reproduction was only significant in the phylogenetically-informed analysis, indicating that reproduction exclusively by seed favours invasiveness of woody species. From the management perspective, however, the predictive value of some traits is not diminished by them being phylogenetically constrained since we are not interested whether the behaviour of particular species is a result of evolutionary history but how we can treat specific cases of invasion.
- RESEARCH: CIB Associates