Invasive non-native plants in China: Role of clonality and geographical origin.
Dong, Ming*,1, Liu, Jian 1, Miao, Shili 2, 1 Key Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Acedemy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China2 South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FL
ABSTRACT- Biological invasions have become a significant threat to the global environment, as those non-native plants dramatically altered landscapes, substantially reduced biodiversity, and negatively impacted regional economy. Unfortunately, so far there is no consensus on invasion mechanisms and predictive models. Controversies exist ranging from whether we can reliably predict which species may become invasive to what characteristics of those species, such as life history, taxonomic groups or geographic origin, may contribute to invasion processes. The present study analyzed 128 invasive non-native plant species in China to understand the role of clonality and geographical origin in their invasion success. The species were classified into three categories based on their current spatial occupation and impacts: invasive species occupied extensive area and with critical impact, invasive species occupied large area and with major impact, and invasive species occupied small area and with minor impact. Preliminary analyses indicate there are 32 invasive species with critical impact (25%), 40 invasive species with major impact (31%), and 56 invasive species with minor impact (44%). Clonal plants account for almost half (44%) of the total invasive non-native species studied and 66% of those with critical impact. The correlation between the clonality and the degree of negative impacts to invaded habitats is significant. Moreover, the percentage of the invasive species from America is as high as 69%. Thus, there is an urgent need to investigate further how clonal plants contributed to bioinvasion and what factors expedited the exchange of invasive species between America and China.
Key words: clonality, China, invasive non-native plants, geographic origin
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