The role of exotic species in homogenizing the North American flora


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Exotic species have begun to homogenize the global biota, yet few data are available to assess the extent of this process or factors that constrain its advance at global or continental scales. We evaluate homogenization of vascular plants across America north of Mexico by comparing similarity in the complete native and exotic floras between states and provinces of the USA and Canada. Compared with native species, exotic plants are distributed haphazardly among areas but spread more widely, producing differentiation of floras among neighbouring areas but homogenization at greater distance. The number of exotic species is more closely associated with the size of the human population than with ecological conditions, as in the case of native species, and their distributions are less influenced by climate than those of native species.