European map of alien plant invasions based on the quantitative assessment across habitats
Article first published online: 4 AUG 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Diversity and Distributions
Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 98–107, January 2009
How to Cite
Chytrý, M., Pyšek, P., Wild, J., Pino, J., Maskell, L. C. and Vilà, M. (2009), European map of alien plant invasions based on the quantitative assessment across habitats. Diversity and Distributions, 15: 98–107. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2008.00515.x
- Issue published online: 8 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 4 AUG 2008
- Biological invasions;
- CORINE land cover;
- EUNIS habitat classification;
- habitat type;
- non-native species;
- risk assessment
Aim Recent studies using vegetation plots have demonstrated that habitat type is a good predictor of the level of plant invasion, expressed as the proportion of alien to all species. At local scale, habitat types explain the level of invasion much better than alien propagule pressure. Moreover, it has been shown that patterns of habitat invasion are consistent among European regions with contrasting climates, biogeography, history and socioeconomic background. Here we use these findings as a basis for mapping the level of plant invasion in Europe.
Location European Union and some adjacent countries.
Methods We used 52,480 vegetation plots from Catalonia (NE Spain), Czech Republic and Great Britain to quantify the levels of invasion by neophytes (alien plant species introduced after ad 1500) in 33 habitat types. Then we estimated the proportion of each of these habitat types in CORINE land-cover classes and calculated the level of invasion for each class. We projected the levels of invasion on the CORINE land-cover map of Europe, extrapolating Catalonian data to the Mediterranean bioregion, Czech data to the Continental bioregion, British data to the British Isles and combined Czech–British data to the Atlantic and Boreal bioregions.
Results The highest levels of invasion were predicted for agricultural, urban and industrial land-cover classes, low levels for natural and semi-natural grasslands and most woodlands, and the lowest levels for sclerophyllous vegetation, heathlands and peatlands. The resulting map of the level of invasion reflected the distribution of these land-cover classes across Europe.
Main conclusions High level of invasion is predicted in lowland areas of the temperate zone of western and central Europe and low level in the boreal zone and mountain regions across the continent. Low level of invasion is also predicted in the Mediterranean region except its coastline, river corridors and areas with irrigated agricultural land.