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      Global threats from invasive alien species in the twenty-first century and national response capacities

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          Invasive alien species (IAS) threaten human livelihoods and biodiversity globally. Increasing globalization facilitates IAS arrival, and environmental changes, including climate change, facilitate IAS establishment. Here we provide the first global, spatial analysis of the terrestrial threat from IAS in light of twenty-first century globalization and environmental change, and evaluate national capacities to prevent and manage species invasions. We find that one-sixth of the global land surface is highly vulnerable to invasion, including substantial areas in developing economies and biodiversity hotspots. The dominant invasion vectors differ between high-income countries (imports, particularly of plants and pets) and low-income countries (air travel). Uniting data on the causes of introduction and establishment can improve early-warning and eradication schemes. Most countries have limited capacity to act against invasions. In particular, we reveal a clear need for proactive invasion strategies in areas with high poverty levels, high biodiversity and low historical levels of invasion.


          Globalization facilitates the spread of invasive alien species, while environmental change can ease invasion. Here, Early et al. identify vulnerable regions globally and evaluate capacity in vulnerable countries to prevent invasions arising from sources such as air travel, horticulture, and pet trade.

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          Most cited references 30

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          Quantifying the evidence for biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning and services.

          Concern is growing about the consequences of biodiversity loss for ecosystem functioning, for the provision of ecosystem services, and for human well being. Experimental evidence for a relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem process rates is compelling, but the issue remains contentious. Here, we present the first rigorous quantitative assessment of this relationship through meta-analysis of experimental work spanning 50 years to June 2004. We analysed 446 measures of biodiversity effects (252 in grasslands), 319 of which involved primary producer manipulations or measurements. Our analyses show that: biodiversity effects are weaker if biodiversity manipulations are less well controlled; effects of biodiversity change on processes are weaker at the ecosystem compared with the community level and are negative at the population level; productivity-related effects decline with increasing number of trophic links between those elements manipulated and those measured; biodiversity effects on stability measures ('insurance' effects) are not stronger than biodiversity effects on performance measures. For those ecosystem services which could be assessed here, there is clear evidence that biodiversity has positive effects on most. Whilst such patterns should be further confirmed, a precautionary approach to biodiversity management would seem prudent in the meantime.
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            Disturbance, Diversity, and Invasion: Implications for Conservation

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              Community assembly and invasion: an experimental test of neutral versus niche processes.

              A species-addition experiment showed that prairie grasslands have a structured, nonneutral assembly process in which resident species inhibit, via resource consumption, the establishment and growth of species with similar resource use patterns and in which the success of invaders decreases as diversity increases. In our experiment, species in each of four functional guilds were introduced, as seed, into 147 prairie-grassland plots that previously had been established and maintained to have different compositions and diversities. Established species most strongly inhibited introduced species from their own functional guild. Introduced species attained lower abundances when functionally similar species were abundant and when established species left lower levels of resources unconsumed, which occurred at higher [corrected] species richness. Residents of the C4 grass functional guild, the dominant guild in nearby native grasslands, reduced the major limiting resource, soil nitrate, to the lowest levels in midsummer and exhibited the greatest inhibitory effect on introduced species. This simple mechanism of greater competitive inhibition of invaders that are similar to established abundant species could, in theory, explain many of the patterns observed in plant communities.

                Author and article information

                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group
                23 August 2016
                : 7
                [1 ]Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter , Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
                [2 ]Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts , Amherst, Massachusetts 01003-9285, USA
                [3 ]Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University , West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA
                [4 ]Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University , West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA
                [5 ]School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington , Seattle, Washington 98195-2100, USA
                [6 ]School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington , Seattle, Washington 98195-5020, USA
                [7 ]USDA-ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit , Fort Collins, Colorado 82001, USA
                [8 ]Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, U.S. National Park Service , Berkeley, California 94720-3114, USA
                [9 ]Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California , Berkeley, California, 94720-3114, USA
                [10 ]Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California , Davis, California 95616, USA
                [11 ]School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan , Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1041, USA
                [12 ]Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University , Pacific Grove, California 93950, USA
                [13 ]Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California , Irvine, California 92697-2525, USA
                [14 ]Department of Geography and Environment, University of Southampton , Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
                [15 ]Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health , Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2220, USA
                [16 ]Flowminder Foundation, SE-11355 Stockholm, Sweden
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2016, The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/




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