Plant invasions in the landscape
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- Vilà, M. & Ibáñez, I. Landscape Ecol (2011) 26: 461. doi:10.1007/s10980-011-9585-3
Biological invasions and changes in land-use are two components of global change affecting biodiversity worldwide. There is overriding evidence that invasions can dramatically change the landscape and that particular land-use types facilitate invasions. Still, these issues have not formally percolated into risk analysis of biological invasions, and only recently has the influence of the surrounding landscape on invasive species spread started to be considered. In this paper we review the literature on the influence of the surrounding landscape on the local level of plant invasions (i.e., abundance and richness of alien plants in plant communities). Our review confirms that there are more alien plant species and they are more abundant at fragment edges than in the interior of fragments. The decline on the level of invasion towards the interior of fragments is sharp. To a lesser extent, there is higher invasion in small isolated fragments than in large connected patches. However, despite their relevance, the influence of connectivity and shape of the fragments have been scarcely explored. Besides the fact that a site has more invaders if surrounded by a human-dominated landscape than by a natural one, the past history and the configuration of that landscape are also important. Invasion within land-uses is often associated with the historical legacy of changes in land-use, indicating that current land-uses might represent an invasion credit to future invasions. Accurate accounts of the invasion process and effective conservation programs will depend on such considerations.