Non-native species in urban environments: patterns, processes, impacts and challenges
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Although urban ecosystems are hotspots for biological invasions, the field of invasion science has given scant attention to invasion dynamics and the challenges facing managers in towns and cities. This paper provides an introduction to the growing challenges of understanding and managing invasive species in urban systems, and the context for a special issue of Biological Invasions, comprising 17 papers, that arose from a workshop on ‘‘Non-native species in urban environments: patterns, processes, impacts and challenges’’ held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in November 2016. Contributions explore the following key questions: Are patterns and processes of urban invasions different from invasions in other contexts? Why is it important to manage non-native species in urban ecosystems? What are the special management needs in an urban context? How can we bridge the gaps between science, management, and policy with regards to biological invasions in urban ecosystems? The papers in this special issue show that patterns and processes of urban invasions differ in many ways from invasions in other contexts, and that managing invasive species in cities poses unique and increasingly complex challenges. Progress in urban invasion science requires further work to: (1) address key limitations that hinder our understanding of invasion dynamics in cities; (2) clarify whether fundamental concepts in the field of invasion science are appropriate for urban ecosystems; (3) integrate insights from invasion science with those from the burgeoning literature on the ‘‘Anthropocene biosphere’’, novel ecosystems, social–ecological systems, human–wildlife conflicts, urban green infrastructure, urban planning and design, and ecosystem services/disservices.