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Keywords:

  • Competition;
  • distribution;
  • ecological release;
  • enemy release;
  • habitat suitability;
  • human activity;
  • invasive species;
  • plant introductions;
  • range area

Abstract

Although some plant traits have been linked to invasion success, the possible effects of regional factors, such as diversity, habitat suitability, and human activity are not well understood. Each of these mechanisms predicts a different pattern of distribution at the regional scale. Thus, where climate and soils are similar, predictions based on regional hypotheses for invasion success can be tested by comparisons of distributions in the source and receiving regions. Here, we analyse the native and alien geographic ranges of all 1567 plant species that have been introduced between eastern Asia and North America or have been introduced to both regions from elsewhere. The results reveal correlations between the spread of exotics and both the native species richness and transportation networks of recipient regions. This suggests that both species interactions and human-aided dispersal influence exotic distributions, although further work on the relative importance of these processes is needed.