Biological Invasions

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 915–927

Plant introduction, naturalization, and invasion in French Guiana (South America)

Invasion Note

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-011-0129-1

Cite this article as:
Delnatte, C. & Meyer, JY. Biol Invasions (2012) 14: 915. doi:10.1007/s10530-011-0129-1


Continental tropical ecosystems are generally viewed as less vulnerable to biological invasions than island ones. Their apparent resistance to invasive alien species is often attributed to their higher native biota diversity and complexity. However, with the increase of human activities and disturbances and the accelerate rate of introductions of plant species, these apparently resilient continental ecosystems are now experiencing alien plant naturalization and invasion events. In order to illustrate this emergent phenomenon, we compiled a list of all known introduced and naturalized plant species in French Guiana (Guiana Shield, South America). A total of 490 alien plants were recorded, about 34% of which are currently naturalized, mainly species belonging to the Acanthaceae and Fabaceae (Faboideae) in the Eudicotyledons, and Poaceae (grasses) and Arecaceae (palms) in the Monocotyledons. The coastal dry and wet savannas appears to be vulnerable to plant invasion (with 165 naturalized species, about 34% of the alien flora), especially by Acacia mangium (Mimosaceae) and Melaleuca quinquenervia (Myrtaceae) which are forming localized but dense monotypic stands. Both tree species, intentionnally introduced for reforestation, rehabilitation, and as garden ornamentals and have the potential to spread with increasing human disturbances The number and abundance of naturalized alien plants in the relatively undisturbed tropical lowland rainforests and savannas remains still very low. Therefore, surveillance, early detection, and eradication of potential plant invaders are crucial; moreover collaboration with neighbouring countries of the Guiana Shield is essential to prevent the introduction of potentially invasive species which are still not present in French Guiana.


Savanna Invasive plant Acacia mangium Melaleuca quinquenervia French Guiana Naturalization 

Supplementary material

10530_2011_129_MOESM1_ESM.doc (676 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 675 kb)
10530_2011_129_MOESM2_ESM.doc (534 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 534 kb)
10530_2011_129_MOESM3_ESM.doc (57 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 57 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Herbier de GuyaneInstitut de Recherche pour le DéveloppementCayenneFrench Guiana
  2. 2.Délégation à la RechercheGouvernement de Polynésie françaisePapeeteFrench Polynesia

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