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Demographic amplification is a predictor of invasiveness among plants


Invasive plant species threaten native biodiversity, ecosystems, agriculture, industry and human health worldwide, lending urgency to the search for predictors of plant invasiveness outside native ranges. There is much conflicting evidence about which plant characteristics best predict invasiveness. Here we use a global demographic survey for over 500 plant species to show that populations of invasive plants have better potential to recover from disturbance than non-invasives, even when measured in the native range. Invasives have high stable population growth rates in their invaded ranges, but this metric cannot be predicted based on measurements in the native ranges. Recovery from demographic disturbance is a measure of transient population amplification, linked to high levels of reproduction, and shows phylogenetic signal. Our results demonstrate that transient population dynamics and reproductive capacity can help to predict invasiveness across the plant kingdom, and should guide international policy on trade and movement of plants.

Nature Communications 10 (2019)

Document author: Kim Jelbert, Danielle Buss, Jenni McDonald, Stuart Townley, Miguel Franco, Iain Stott, Owen Jones, Roberto Salguero-Gómez, Yvonne Buckley, Tiffany Knight, Matthew Silk, Francesca Sargent, Simon Rolph, Phil Wilson1 & Dave Hodgson
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