Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 12, pp 2889–2899 | Cite as

Assessing the importance of disturbance, site conditions, and the biotic barrier for dandelion invasion in an Alpine habitat

  • Constanza L. Quiroz
  • Lohengrin A. Cavieres
  • Aníbal Pauchard
Original Paper


Several factors have been identified as relevant in determining the abundance of non-native invasive species. Nevertheless, the relative importance of these factors will vary depending on the invaded habitat and the characteristics of the invasive species. Due to their harsh environmental conditions and remoteness, high-alpine habitats are often considered to be at low risk of plant invasion. However, an increasing number of reports have shown the presence and spread of non-native plant species in alpine habitats; thus, it is important to study which factors control the invasion process in these harsh habitats. In this study, we assessed the role of disturbance, soil characteristics, biotic resistance and seed rain in the establishment and abundance of the non-native invasive species Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) in the Andes of central Chile. By focusing on human-disturbed patches, naturally disturbed patches, and undisturbed patches, we did not find that disturbance per se, or its origin, affected the establishment and abundance of T. officinale. The abundance of this non-native invasive species was not negatively related to the diversity of native species at local scales, indicating no biotic resistance to invasion; instead, some positive relationships were found. Our results indicate that propagule pressure (assessed by the seed rain) and the abiotic soil characteristics are the main factors related to the abundance of this non-native invasive species. Hence, in contrast to what has been found for more benign habitats, disturbance and biotic resistance have little influence on the invasibility of T. officinale in this high-alpine habitat.


Invasion Disturbance Biotic resistance Taraxacum officinale Alpine Seed rain Andes 



We thank La Parva and Valle Nevado Ski Resort staffs for their help with the access to our study sites. We also thank Victor and Angélica Rojas from Valparaiso Lodge, our second home. This study was supported by FONDECYT 1060710, as well as projects P05-002 F ICM and PFB-23 supporting the Center for Advanced Studies in Ecology and Research on Biodiversity (IEB).

Supplementary material

10530_2011_9971_MOESM1_ESM.doc (61 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 61 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constanza L. Quiroz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lohengrin A. Cavieres
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aníbal Pauchard
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y OceanográficasUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  2. 2.Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad (IEB)SantiagoChile
  3. 3.Departamento de Manejo de Bosques y Medio Ambiente, Facultad de Ciencias ForestalesUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile

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