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Factors relating to regional and local success of exotic plant species in their new range

Authors

  • Tanja A. A. Speek,

    Corresponding author
    1. Wageningen University Research Centre, Plant Research International, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB
    2. Wageningen University Research Centre, Laboratorium of Nematology, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB
    3. Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708 PB
    • Tanja A. A. Speek, Wageningen University & Research Centre, Plant Research International, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands.
      E-mail: tanja.speek@wur.nl

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  • Lambertus A. P. Lotz,

    1. Wageningen University Research Centre, Plant Research International, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB
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  • Wim A. Ozinga,

    1. Wageningen University and Research Centre, Centre Ecosystem Studies, Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PB Wageningen
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  • Wil L. M. Tamis,

    1. University Leiden, Institute Environmental Sciences, Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC Leiden
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  • Joop H. J. Schaminée,

    1. Wageningen University and Research Centre, Centre Ecosystem Studies, Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PB Wageningen
    2. Radboud University Nijmegen, Department Ecology, Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology Research Group, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ Nijmegen, the Netherlands
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  • Wim H. van der Putten

    1. Wageningen University Research Centre, Laboratorium of Nematology, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB
    2. Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708 PB
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Abstract

Aim  To estimate invasiveness of exotic plant species, many studies have used the frequency of occurrence within a defined region. This measure is informative on how widespread exotics are, however, it does not inform on their local dominance, which is crucial for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The aim of the present study is to determine if regional frequency of occurrence of exotic plant species indeed is indicative of their local dominance. We also determined which plant traits and other factors predict regional and local frequencies best.

Location  The Netherlands.

Methods  We used information on exotic plant species established in The Netherlands and compared traits relating to their frequency of occurrence regionally (the entire country) and their frequency of dominance locally (in 1–100 m2 quadrats). We created minimal adequate models with factors explaining regional frequency and frequency of local dominance of 111 exotic plant species in The Netherlands.

Results  The model that used plant traits to explain regional frequency of exotic plant species differed from the models that best explained their frequency of local dominance. Regionally, the factors that correlated with frequency were: life form, height, polyploidy, length of flowering season, residence time, human use and origin. The factors that correlated to frequency of local dominance were lateral vegetative spread and residence time.

Main conclusions  We conclude that plant traits relating to the regional frequency of exotic plant species differ from those that relate to their frequency of local dominance. The implication of our results is that predictive studies on plant invasiveness based on regional frequencies may not be indicative of the local impacts. Since the prediction of local impacts is crucial for conservation and risk assessment, our study emphasized the need for better information on the local abundance of exotic invaders.

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