Riparian habitats provide numerous ecosystem services and support a diversity of ecological processes, yet they are environmentally sensitive landscapes susceptible to species invasion. As the global population grows, urban, exurban, suburban and rural development of riparian landscapes and dependence on the associated ecosystem services will increase. To preserve riparian systems, research should assess causes and consequences of riparian invasion and effective restoration measures across a diversity of biomes. This paper categorizes the types of riparian invasion research studies and investigates research trends in the riparian invasion literature. The analysis shows that research focuses on drivers and patterns of invasion is primarily focused on North America and Europe and is scant in high biodiversity biomes, such as the tropics and humid subtropics. Future population growth is predicted to occur in poorly researched regions. Future riparian invasion research should focus on regions of high biodiversity and identify consequences of invasion and restoration measures. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.