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Interactions between non-native plant species and the floristic composition of common habitats

Maskell, L. C.; Firbank, L. G.; Thompson, K.; Bullock, J. M.; Smart, S. M.. 2006 Interactions between non-native plant species and the floristic composition of common habitats. Journal of Ecology, 94. 1052-1060. 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01172.x

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Abstract/Summary

1 We investigated the role of non-native species (neophytes) in common British plant communities using botanical data from two stratified random surveys carried out in 1990 and 1998. 2 We found that from 16 851 plots surveyed in 1998 there were 123 non-native species found mostly in arable, tall grass/herb and fertile grassland habitats. Invasive non-native species, e.g. Fallopia japonica, Impatiens glandulifera and Rhododendron ponticum, were uncommon in this survey. 3 Between 1990 and 1998 the total number of non-native species increased but the mean number of species per sample plot decreased. The mean cover of non-natives increased from 1.2% to 1.9%. 4 There were positive spatial and temporal relationships between non-native and native species diversity. However, there was a weak negative relationship between changes in non-native cover and native diversity. 5 The species composition and ecological traits of communities containing non-natives were very different from those that did not contain them. 6 In the British countryside non-native species were mainly found in habitats with anthropogenic associations, high fertility, high number of ruderal species and high diversity. There is also an indication that successional shifts where competitive invasive species dominate involve non-native species. 7 National-scale changes in plant community composition are likely to be closely correlated with external land-use impacts. Changes such as eutrophication, nitrogen deposition and increased fertility in infertile habitats are likely to benefit both native and non-native invasive species; however, currently these trends benefit native species much more often than non-natives. 8 Non-native species are known to have significant effects on native species at local scales in many countries; however, at the landscape scale in Great Britain they are best considered as symptoms of disturbance and land-use change rather than a direct threat to biodiversity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01172.x
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
CEH Sections: _ Ecosystem Assessment & Forecasting
_ Population & Conservation Ecology
ISSN: 0022-0477
Additional Keywords: Countryside Survey, diversity, exotics, landscape scale, neophytes, plant traits, temporal studies
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 08 May 2008 10:28
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/2892

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