Alien and native birds in South Africa: patterns, processes and conservation
van Rensburg, Berndt
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The spatial distribution of alien species richness often correlates positively with native species richness, and reflects the role of human density and activity, and primary productivity and habitat heterogeneity, in facilitating the establishment and spread of alien species. Here, we investigate the relationship between the spatial distribution of alien bird species, human density, and anthropogenic and natural environmental conditions. Next, we examined the relationship between the spatial distribution of alien bird species and native bird species richness. We examined alien species richness as a response variable, using correlative analyses that take spatial autocorrelation into account. Further, each alien bird species was examined as a response variable, using logistic regression procedures based on binary presence-absence data. A combination of human density and natural habitat heterogeneity best explained the spatial distribution of alien species richness. This contrasts with the results for individual alien species and with previous studies on other non-native taxa showing the importance of primary productivity and anthropogenic habitat modification as explanatory variables. In general, native species richness is an important correlate of the spatial distribution of alien species richness and individual alien species, with alien species being more similar to common species than to rare species.