Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 11, pp 3337–3350

Assessing current and future risks of invasion by the “green cancer” Miconia calvescens

  • Noelia González-Muñoz
  • Céline Bellard
  • Camille Leclerc
  • Jean-Yves Meyer
  • Franck Courchamp
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-015-0960-x

Cite this article as:
González-Muñoz, N., Bellard, C., Leclerc, C. et al. Biol Invasions (2015) 17: 3337. doi:10.1007/s10530-015-0960-x


Miconia calvescens D.C. appears in the list “100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species”, devised by the IUCN. It is considered the worst plant pest in Hawaii and French Polynesia. This species has also invaded the rain forest of Australia, New Caledonia and Sri Lanka, where it is extremely difficult to eradicate. To assess the susceptibility to invasion by M. calvescens in new areas, we investigated the current and future suitable areas for this aggressive invader worldwide. We also assessed the protected areas currently at risk of invasion by considering botanic gardens as a proxy for likelihood of introduction, since most successful invasions by M. calvescens originated from private or public garden escapees. Our results predict that about 7.2 % of total landmass is currently suitable for M. calvescens, with 54.8 % outside the native range including 44.5 % within tropical forests in the southern hemisphere. We identified 91 countries, 400 islands, and up to 364 protected areas with suitable environments outside of M. calvescens native range. By the 2080s, worldwide land suitable for M. calvescens is predicted to be reduced by up to half due to climate change. This decrease is mainly predicted to occur in M. calvescens native ranges as well as in countries where the presence of the species has not yet been reported. In contrast, the invaded range is predicted to slightly decrease, showing an interesting example of a double negative effect of climate change on the distribution of an invader. Our work provides information for land managers and stakeholders that can help to avert the introduction and spread of M. calvescens in their territories. We also emphasize the importance of risk assessments on the living collections of botanic gardens, as a common source of escapees of invasive plants.


Miconia calvescens Climate change Species distribution model Botanic gardens Protected areas 

Supplementary material

10530_2015_960_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Appendix S1. List of countries belonging to each range. (DOCX 20 kb)
10530_2015_960_MOESM2_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Appendix S2. Importance of each variable included in the model. (DOCX 17 kb)
10530_2015_960_MOESM3_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Appendix S3. Suitability cut-offs for current and future climatic conditions. (DOCX 15 kb)
10530_2015_960_MOESM4_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Appendix S4. Boxplots of TSS, ROC and KAPPA values. (DOCX 22 kb)
10530_2015_960_MOESM5_ESM.docx (177 kb)
Appendix S5. Suitability versus the value of each variable included in the model. (DOCX 177 kb)
10530_2015_960_MOESM6_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Appendix S6. List of islands currently under higher risk of invasion by M. calvescens. (DOCX 22 kb)
10530_2015_960_MOESM7_ESM.doc (120 kb)
Appendix S7. List of the botanic gardens. (DOC 119 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noelia González-Muñoz
    • 1
  • Céline Bellard
    • 2
  • Camille Leclerc
    • 2
  • Jean-Yves Meyer
    • 3
  • Franck Courchamp
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias de la VidaUniversidad de AlcaláAlcalá de Henares, MadridSpain
  2. 2.Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, UMR CNRS 8079Université Paris-SudOrsay, CedexFrance
  3. 3.Délégation à la Recherche, Ministère de l’Education, de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la RechercheGouvernement de Polynésie françaisePapeeteFrench Polynesia

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