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Patterns of plant invasions in China: Taxonomic, biogeographic, climatic approaches and anthropogenic effects

  • Author(s): Wu, Shan-Huah
  • Sun, Hao-Ting
  • Teng, Yung-Ching
  • Rejmánek, Marcel
  • Chaw, Shu-Miaw
  • Yang, T.-Y. Aleck
  • Hsieh, Chang-Fu
  • et al.

This study was aimed to determine the patterns as well as the effects of biological, anthropogenic, and climatic factors on plant invasions in China. About 270 volumes of national and regional floras were employed to compile a naturalized flora of China. Habit, life form, origin, distribution, and uses of naturalized plants were also analyzed to determine patterns on invasion. Correlations between biological, anthropogenic and climatic parameters were estimated at province and regional scales. Naturalized species represent 1% of the flora of China. Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Poaceae are the dominant families, but Euphorbiaceae and Cactaceae have the largest ratios of naturalized species to their global numbers. Oenothera, Euphorbia, and Crotalaria were the dominant genera. Around 50% of exotic species were introduced intentionally for medicinal purposes. Most of the naturalized species originated in tropical America, followed by Asia and Europe. Number of naturalized species was significantly correlated to the number of native species/log area. The intensity of plant invasion showed a pattern along climate zones from mesic to xeric, declining with decreasing temperature and precipitation across the nation. Anthropogenic factor, such as distance of transportation, was significantly correlated to plant invasions at a regional scale. Although anthropogenic factors were largely responsible for creating opportunities for exotic species to spread and establish, the local biodiversity and climate factors were the major factors shaping the pattern of plant invasions in China. The warm regions, which are the hot spots of local biodiversity, and relatively developed areas of China, furthermore, require immediate attentions.

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