The rich get richer: patterns of plant invasions in the United States

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Abstract

Observations from islands, small-scale experiments, and mathematical models have generally supported the paradigm that habitats of low plant diversity are more vulnerable to plant invasions than areas of high plant diversity. We summarize two independent data sets to show exactly the opposite pattern at multiple spatial scales. More significant, and alarming, is that hotspots of native plant diversity have been far more heavily invaded than areas of low plant diversity in most parts of the United States when considered at larger spatial scales. Our findings suggest that we cannot expect such hotspots to repel invasions, and that the threat of invasion is significant and predictably greatest in these areas.

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