Interactions between non-native plant species and the floristic composition of common habitats
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2006
Journal of Ecology
Volume 94, Issue 6, pages 1052–1060, November 2006
How to Cite
MASKELL, L. C., FIRBANK, L. G., THOMPSON, K., BULLOCK, J. M. and SMART, S. M. (2006), Interactions between non-native plant species and the floristic composition of common habitats. Journal of Ecology, 94: 1052–1060. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01172.x
- Issue published online: 25 SEP 2006
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2006
- Received 23 January 2006 revision accepted 11 July 2006 Handling Editor: Ray Callaway
- Countryside Survey;
- landscape scale;
- plant traits;
- temporal studies
- 1We investigated the role of non-native species (neophytes) in common British plant communities using botanical data from two stratified random surveys carried out in 1990 and 1998.
- 2We found that from 16 851 plots surveyed in 1998 there were 123 non-native species found mostly in arable, tall grass/herb and fertile grassland habitats. Invasive non-native species, e.g. Fallopia japonica, Impatiens glandulifera and Rhododendron ponticum, were uncommon in this survey.
- 3Between 1990 and 1998 the total number of non-native species increased but the mean number of species per sample plot decreased. The mean cover of non-natives increased from 1.2% to 1.9%.
- 4There were positive spatial and temporal relationships between non-native and native species diversity. However, there was a weak negative relationship between changes in non-native cover and native diversity.
- 5The species composition and ecological traits of communities containing non-natives were very different from those that did not contain them.
- 6In the British countryside non-native species were mainly found in habitats with anthropogenic associations, high fertility, high number of ruderal species and high diversity. There is also an indication that successional shifts where competitive invasive species dominate involve non-native species.
- 7National-scale changes in plant community composition are likely to be closely correlated with external land-use impacts. Changes such as eutrophication, nitrogen deposition and increased fertility in infertile habitats are likely to benefit both native and non-native invasive species; however, currently these trends benefit native species much more often than non-natives.
- 8Non-native species are known to have significant effects on native species at local scales in many countries; however, at the landscape scale in Great Britain they are best considered as symptoms of disturbance and land-use change rather than a direct threat to biodiversity.