Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 2483–2509 | Cite as

Biological invasions in rapidly urbanizing areas: a case study of Beijing, China

  • Hua-Feng Wang
  • Jordi López-Pujol
  • Laura A. Meyerson
  • Jiang-Xiao Qiu
  • Xiao-Ke Wang
  • Zhi-Yun Ouyang
Original Paper


Urbanization is widely recognized as a major factor promoting biological invasions worldwide. In this article, we provide insights into the patterns of biological invasions in Beijing, one of the largest and quickly urbanizing cities of the world, by developing a comprehensive list of naturalized and invasive flora and their associate traits (e.g., distribution, life form, habitat, or geographic origin). One hundred and twelve naturalized (including 48 invasive) plants have been identified within the Beijing Municipality. Most of the naturalized and invasive plants belong to four families (Asteraceae, Poaceae, Amaranthaceae, and Euphorbiaceae) and are annual herbs that preferentially grow in disturbed sites. North and South America are the main contributors to the naturalized and invasive flora of Beijing. As expected, those Beijing districts that have recently experienced the highest human population growth, urban expansion, and the largest economic growth are also those with the highest number of naturalized and invasive species. Urban expansion is predicted to continue in the near term making additional invasions likely that will significantly increase the proportion of introduced species in Beijing’s flora. An integrated management strategy for the whole municipality is urgently needed that includes comprehensive scientific research that documents the extent of invasions and their effects on Beijing’s economy and environment.


Growth Urbanization Invasive species Naturalized species Horticulture Management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hua-Feng Wang
    • 1
  • Jordi López-Pujol
    • 2
  • Laura A. Meyerson
    • 3
  • Jiang-Xiao Qiu
    • 1
  • Xiao-Ke Wang
    • 1
  • Zhi-Yun Ouyang
    • 1
  1. 1.Beijing Urban Ecosystem Research Station, State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Botanic Institute of Barcelona (CSIC-ICUB)BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.University of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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