Determinants of plant species invasions in an arid island: evidence from Socotra Island (Yemen)
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- Senan, A.S., Tomasetto, F., Farcomeni, A. et al. Plant Ecol (2012) 213: 1381. doi:10.1007/s11258-012-0098-1
Understanding the factors which affect the distribution of alien plants in arid islands is complicated by the complex and stochastic nature of the invasion process per se, the harsh environmental conditions, and the low number of researchers and sampling effort. We present the results of the most comprehensive inventory to date of alien vascular plant species occurring in Socotra Island, a global biodiversity hotspot just beginning to be developed. A floristic survey was conducted between 2006 and 2008 in 36 grid cells of 10 × 10 km. We integrated this data from this survey with those from scientific literature. We recorded 88 alien plant species. Tree and herbaceous species were the most common growth forms. Species from Asia and edible species were prevalent. We identified 80 species considered weeds worldwide with >50 % adapted to arid conditions. We used a two-part model to analyze the spatial distribution of naturalized and alien plant species in relation to environmental and anthropogenic factors. Altitude and human-related factors play a significant role in the distribution of both naturalized and invasive species. Notably, the latter can potentially spread mainly in the alluvial basal areas. This study underpins the knowledge about alien species and their spatial distribution in Socotra Island. It provides a baseline for plant invasion management and contributes data for the analyses of invasion processes on islands worldwide.