Exotic plant species invade diversity hot spots: the alien flora of northwestern Kenya

Authors

  • J. Stadler,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept of Community Ecology, UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, D-06120 Halle/Saale, Germany.
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  • A. Trefflich,

    1. Inst. of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition. Martin-Luther-Univ., Halle-Wittenberg, Weidenplan 14, D-06108 Halle/Saale, Germany.
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  • S. Klotz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept of Community Ecology, UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, D-06120 Halle/Saale, Germany.
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  • R. Brandl

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept of Community Ecology, UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, D-06120 Halle/Saale, Germany.
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1larus@oesa.ufz.de

Abstract

We analysed the distribution of native and alien plant species across 20 ecogeographic zones of northwestern Kenya. The source pool for the majority of aliens was Europe and America. Thus, the source pool has a biogeographic bias which explains the low proportion of aliens in the tropics: most species in the European or American source pool are not well adapted to tropical conditions. As expected, native and alien plant species showed an area effect. Correcting for this area effect. species rich zones showed a higher proportion of alien plant species in their flora. At the analysed scale, species richness of native plant communities does not increase the resistance to invasions and alien plant species invade diversity hotspots. Compared to the other ecogeographic zone, the urban area around Nairobi showed an increased richness in alien and native plant species. This is very similar to findings in Europe, although the history of urbanisation is much shorter in Kenya. The species turnover between zones (β-diversity) shows a similar pattern in native and alien plant species. Within a very short time scale the alien plant species mapped the biogeographic patterns of natives, although the geography of human activities influences the propagule pressure.

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