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Invasive alien plant species in China: regional distribution patterns

Authors

  • Jian Liu,

    1. Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, P.R. China,
    2. School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Ji’nan 250100, P.R. China
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  • Shi-Chu Liang,

    1. Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, P.R. China,
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  • Feng-Hong Liu,

    1. Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, P.R. China,
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  • Ren-Qing Wang,

    1. School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Ji’nan 250100, P.R. China
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  • Ming Dong

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, P.R. China,
    2. School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Ji’nan 250100, P.R. China
      Correspondence: Ming Dong, Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, People's Republic of China. E-mail: dongming@ibcas.ac.cn
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Correspondence: Ming Dong, Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, People's Republic of China. E-mail: dongming@ibcas.ac.cn

ABSTRACT

Plant invasions have been attracting increasing attention from ecologists because of their worldwide environmental impacts and huge economic costs. Research on the characteristics of the recipient regions is essential for understanding the process of plant invasion. However, few previous studies on invasibility of habitats include social factors, although human activities are critical in the process of plant invasion. China is a vast country with high plant species diversity and a long history of introduction of exotic plant species and is particularly vulnerable to invasive plant species. Alien plant species are widespread in the country. Therefore, the study of invasive plants in China is urgent in practice and theoretically important for developing invasion ecology. For the present study, 126 species were selected to represent the major invasive plant species in China. We then collected data on their species richness in 31 provincial administrative units of China and performed Spearman rank correlations between species richness and possible natural and socio-economic factors. We found that socio-economic factors, such as human density and GDP, correlated positively with the species richness of invasive plants in China. In conjunction with the natural and socio-economic correlations in the study of regional distribution pattern of the major invasive plants, we discussed the factors influencing the regional distribution pattern of the major invasive plants in China. We suggest that native plant species richness was mainly determined by the natural conditions of the regions, while invasive species richness was influenced by natural conditions and human disturbance together.

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