Biogeography, macroecology and future of plant invasions: a global perspective

Prof Petr Pysek1, Prof Wayne Dawson2, Dr Franz Essl3, Prof Holger Kreft4, Dr Jan Pergl1, Prof Mark van Kleunen5, Dr  Patrick Weigelt4, Dr Marten Winter6

1Czech Academy Of Sciences, Institute Of Botany, Pruhonice, Czech Republic, 2School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom, 3Division of Conservation, Vegetation and Landscape Ecology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, 4Biodiversity, Macroecology & Conservation Biogeography, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany, 5Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany, 6German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig, Germany

Among species on the move, those following human footsteps and responding to changes in land-use, climate and other factors, alien plants take a prominent position. In the last decade, the number of databases and regional inventories of alien species has been rapidly increasing, but large-scale syntheses were lacking for plants. The recently built Global Naturalized Alien Flora (GloNAF) database, containing inmformation on the distribution of over 13,000 plant species (about 4% of the world extant flora) naturalized in over 840 mainland regions and islands of the world, provided for the first time the opportunity to assess global diversity of naturalized alien plants, accounting for different biogeographic, environmental and socioeconomic contexts. It also made it possible to (i) explore the global flows of naturalized alien species and their historical accumulation and exchange among continents, (ii) test some of the central hypotheses in invasion biology by relating naturalized species distributions to species traits, and (iii) model the risks of future invasions. Among the main findings are that the historical directions of species movements among continents need to be revisited, climate change will increase the naturalization risk from alien garden plants in Europe, and that emerging economies in megadiverse countries are regions most vulnerable to future plant invasions due to the interaction of global trade and climate change. GloNAF has also been used to demonstrate that selfing ability drives global naturalization of alien plants directly as well as indirectly, promoting their naturalization success.


Petr Pyšek has 25 years experience in invasion ecology research, with interest in factors determining species invasiveness and habitat invasibility at various special scales, mecroecology of invasions, the role of species traits and other issues. He has been involved in major European projects on invasions in 2000s (DAISIE, ALARM), and is member of the GloNAF consortium. He has published over 300 papers in impacted journals, cited more than 20,000 times.

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