Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 547–557 | Cite as

Landscape context modulates alien plant invasion in Mediterranean forest edges

  • Pablo González-MorenoEmail author
  • Joan Pino
  • Núria Gassó
  • Montserrat Vilà
Original Paper


Natural habitats in human-altered landscapes are especially vulnerable to biological invasions, especially in their edges. We aim to understand the influence of landscape and local characteristics on biological invasions by exploring the level of plant invasion and alien species traits in forest edges in highly urbanized landscapes. We identified all plant species in 73 paired plots in the edge and 50 m towards the interior of the forest. We explored the association between alien species richness and similarity in species composition between edge and interior plots with landscape and local variables, using generalized linear models and variance partitioning techniques. Then, we performed Fourth-corner analyses to explore the association between alien plant traits and local and landscape variables. In contrast to native species richness, alien species richness was more affected by the surrounding landscape than by the local characteristics of the edge. Road proximity was positively associated with alien species richness and proportion and was its most important correlate, whereas disturbance was negatively associated with native species richness and was its most influential factor. Alien plant traits were also primarily associated with landscape characteristics. For instance, species of Mediterranean origin and introduced for agriculture were associated with higher agriculture use in the landscape. Our findings suggest that risk analyses of habitat vulnerability to invasion must consider the landscape context in order to successfully predict highly invaded areas and identify potentially successful invaders.


Alien plant species Level of invasion Edge effects Forest fragmentation Species traits 



We are very grateful to the Global Change Ecology Lab of University of Michigan whose comments significantly improved the manuscript. This research was partially funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación projects Consolider-Ingenio MONTES (CSD2008-00040) and RIXFUTUR (CGL2009-7515), and the Junta de Andalucía project RNM-4031. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments and advice.

Supplementary material

10530_2012_306_MOESM1_ESM.docx (37 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pablo González-Moreno
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joan Pino
    • 2
  • Núria Gassó
    • 2
  • Montserrat Vilà
    • 1
  1. 1.Estación Biológica de DoñanaCentro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (EBD-CSIC)SevillaSpain
  2. 2.Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF)Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaCerdanyola del Vallès, CataloniaSpain

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