Biological invasions in developing and developed countries: does one model fit all?
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There is a strong bias concerning the regions of the globe where research on biological invasions is conducted, with notably lower representation of developing countries. However, in developing countries, effective management strategies to control invasions could be more beneficial in conserving global biodiversity since these countries tend to have larger, highly diverse natural habitats. Lower levels of development are seen as an obstacle to tackling biological invasions, but little thought is given to the advantages of developing countries in dealing with invasive species. We analyzed differences between developed and developing countries regarding the problem of invasive species and their historical and current patterns of international trade, disturbance levels and land use, research and monitoring, control and mitigation, and social awareness. Developed nations have some advantages, especially in levels of social awareness and means for controlling and studying exotics, but developing nations also enjoy important advantages given their lower levels of international trade and the availability of low-cost labor. Also, there is evidence that the process of economic development, which results in more efficient ways to transform landscapes and increases international trade, is strongly associated with increasing rates of biological invasion. Differences in data quality and availability between developed and developing countries make comparative analyses of biological invasions a difficult task. Thus, these differences creates a challenge in forming global strategies to deal with invasions. There have been calls for creating international plans to deal with invasive species, but we believe that it is important first to acknowledge the challenges and understand both the advantages and disadvantages of developing countries.
KeywordsAnthropogenic disturbance Control of invasions Development International trade Management
Lara Souza, Emmi Felker-Quinn and Dan Simberloff for helpful comments on the manuscript. A. Pauchard is funded by ICM P05–002, PFB-23 of Conicyt-Chile, and Fondecyt 1070488.
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