Biological Invasions

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 415–425

Correlated Non-native Species Richness of Birds, Mammals, Herptiles and Plants: Scale Effects of Area, Human Population and Native Plants


DOI: 10.1007/s10530-005-6418-9

Cite this article as:
McKinney, M.L. Biol Invasions (2006) 8: 415. doi:10.1007/s10530-005-6418-9


Several extrinsic factors (area, native species diversity, human population size and latitude) significantly influence the non-native species richness of plants, over several orders of magnitude. Using several data sets, I examine the role of these factors in non-native species richness of several animal groups: birds, mammals and herptiles (amphibians, reptiles). I also examine if non-native species richness is correlated among these groups. I find, in agreement with Sax [2001, Journal of Biogeography 28: 139–150], that latitude is inversely correlated with non-native species richness of many groups. Once latitude is accounted for, area, human population size and native plant species richness are shown to be important extrinsic factors influencing non-native animal species. Of these extrinsic factors, human population size and native plant species richness are the best predictors of non-native animal species richness. Area, human population size and native plant species richness are highly intercorrelated, along with non-native species richness of all taxa. Indeed a factor analysis shows that a single multivariate axis explains over half of the variation for all variables among the groups. One reason for this covariation is that humans tend to most densely occupy the most productive and diverse habitats where native plant species richness is very high. It is thus difficult to disentangle the effects of human population size and native species richness on non-native species richness. However, it seems likely that these two factors may combine to increase non-native species richness in a synergistic way: high native species richness reflects greater habitat variety available for non-native species, and dense human populations (that preferentially occupy areas rich in native species) increase non-native species importation and disturbance of local habitats.


exotichomogenizationhuman populationintroduced species

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth & Planetary SciencesUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA