, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 313-321

Predicting Biological Invasions

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There are various approaches to explain the mechanisms of biological invasions. It is possible (1) to focus on the characteristics of invading species and (2) on those of the ecosystems invaded, (3) to investigate the relationship between these two factors (key–lock approach), or (4) to differentiate the invasion process in time. Each of these approaches may serve to improve the understanding of some aspects of biological invasions, and each of them is in some way suitable for the purpose of predicting invasions. We discuss the usefulness and the limitations of these approaches, focusing on case studies from central Europe. An example of the fourth approach, a model of steps and stages of plant invasions that describes the invasion process in greater detail, illustrates some general limitations in predicting biological invasions.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.