Abstract. Bischofia javanica is an invasive tree of the Bonin Islands in the western Pacific, Japan. This species has aggressive growth, competitively replacing native trees in the natural forest of the islands. The aim of this study was to examine seed and seedling factors which might confer an advantage to the establishment of Bischofia over native trees. During a 5-yr period we compared the demographic parameters of early life history of Bischofia and Elaeocarpus photiniae-folius, a native canopy dominant, in actively invaded forests. Predation of Elaeocarpus seeds by in troduced rodents was much higher before (27.9–32.9%) and after (41.3–100%) dispersal of seeds than that of B. javanica. Most Elaeocarpus seeds lost viability ca. 6 mo after burial in forest soil while some seeds of Bischofia remained viable for more than 2 yr. Seedling survival in the first 2 yr was much higher in Bischofia (16%) than in Elaeocarpus (1.3%). The high persistence of Bischofia in the shade, coupled to its rapid acclimation to high light levels, is an unusual combination because in forest tree species there is generally a trade-off between seedling survival in the shade and response to canopy opening. Compared with a native canopy dominant, greater seed longevity, lower seed predation by introduced rodents, longer fruiting periods and the ability to form seedling banks under closed canopy appear to have contributed to the invasive success of Bischofia on the Bonin Islands.