Predicting plant invasions in an era of global change

Bradley, B. A., D. M. Blumenthal, D. S. Wilcove, and L. H. Ziska. 2010. Predicting plant invasions in an era of global change. Trends in Ecology and Environment 25: 310-318.

Plant invasions as well as other biological invasions have large impacts on ecosystems, globally (Vitousek et al 1997). Understanding how they might change in light of global change is critical for management strategies. Bradley et al (2010) provide a brief review of current global change factors and their relationships with plant invasions, while highlighting some popular techniques and including some areas for improved research. They subdivided global change into three factors: climate change (e.g., temperature, precipitation, etc), increased resource availability, and land use/cover changes. They argued that the effects of climate change on invasive plants had the greatest uncertainty because it may lead to new abiotic constraints on species. Additionally, they suggested that increased introductions or spread of invasions as a result of changes in land use/cover were likely the most successful to manage. Given these three topics, I felt the article discussed in much greater detail the potential effects of climate change on plant invasions compared to the other subdivision and gave minimal research suggestions for those areas. Additionally it would have been nice, if they had discussed potential management strategies in more detail particularly since they made the case that many invasions would be species and site specific.

Image Credit:Artichoke thistle (Cyanara cardunculus) a highly invasive plant in southern California. copyright:J.R. Manhart

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