3 years ago

A global analysis of elevational distribution of non-native versus native plants

Steven L. Chown, Basil V. Iannone, Qinfeng Guo, Zehao Shen, Songlin Fei, Jonathan Knott
Aim Much is known about the elevational diversity patterns of native species and about the mechanisms that drive these patterns. A similar level of understanding is needed for non-native species. Using published data, we examine elevational diversity patterns of non-native plants and compare the resulting patterns with those observed for native plants. Location Global. Methods We compiled data from 65 case studies on elevational diversity patterns of non-native plants around the world (including 32 cases in which both non-native and native plants were sampled). We compared the elevational distributions (upper and lower limits, and extents) and diversity patterns of non-native and native species. Results Compared to native plant species, the elevational diversity patterns of non-native plant species were more negative (47% vs. 13%) and less unimodal (44% vs. 84%). That is, non-native species richness tended to be highest at lower elevations, whereas native species richness peaked at mid-elevations. In cases where species richness for both non-native and native species on the same mountains showed unimodal patterns in relation to elevation, maximum values in species richness occurred at lower elevations for non-native species. Main conclusions At present levels of invasion, non-native and native species show different patterns in both distribution and diversity along elevational gradients worldwide. However, our observations constitute a snapshot of ongoing, long-term invasion processes. As non-native species typically show strong associations with human activities, future changes in human population (e.g. growth and migration), land use and climate change may promote upward spread of non-native species and may thus increase risks of impact on native species and communities.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13145

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