Henderson, Scott, Dawson, Terence P. and Whittaker, Robert J.
Progress in invasive plants research
Progress in Physical Geography, 30, (1), . (doi:10.1191/0309133306pp468ra).
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This paper identifies the historical precedents and recent advances in descriptive and analytical aspects of invasive plant ecology. The paper takes a global perspective that focuses primarily on natural and semi-natural systems. The dynamics of plant invasions depend on the unique combination of species and recipient environments in light of short-lived, but highly influential, stochastic events. Spreading from the original point of establishment can be virtually instantaneous or follow a prolonged timelag. Range extension proceeds according to a variety of patterns dependent on the interplay between dispersal modes and landscape characteristics. The impacts of plant invasions are all-encompassing: biodiversity loss, economic impacts and aesthetic impacts occasioned by the loss of traditional cultural or natural landscapes. From the conservation perspective, costs are incalculable, but undoubtedly high. The impacts of invasive plants on natural ecosystems occur across all levels of biotic organization and, in the worst case, result in global extinctions and modification of fundamental ecosystem properties that make restoration practically impossible. Plant invasions occur across all habitat types and have spawned complementary theories, which are briefly presented within particular contexts.
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