Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 688–696 | Cite as

Biodiversity and invasibility: Distribution patterns of invasive plant species in the Himalayas, Nepal

  • Khem Raj Bhattarai
  • Inger Elisabeth Måren
  • Suresh Chandra Subedi
Article

Abstract

Invasive plant species are exerting a serious threat to biological diversity in many regions of the world. To understand plant invasions this study aims to test which of the two plant invasiveness hypotheses; ‘low native diversity’ vs. ‘high native diversity’, is supported by the regional distribution patterns of invasive plant species in the Himalayas, Nepal. This study is based on data retrieved from published literatures and herbarium specimens. The relationship between invasive plant species distribution patterns and that of native plant species is elucidated by scatter plots, as well as by generalized linear models. The native plant species and invasive plant species have similar distribution patterns and the maximum number of invasive plant species is found in the same altitudinal range where the highest richness for native tree species is found. There is a clear trend of higher invasive plant richness in regions where native tree species richness is relatively high. Consequently, the native plant richness is highest in the central phytogeographic region, followed by the eastern and the western regions, respectively. The invasive plant species also follows a similar trend. Additionally, the invasive plant species richness was positively correlated with anthropogenic factors such as human population density and the number of visiting tourists. This study supports the hypothesis that ‘high native diversity’ supports or facilitates invasive plant species. Further, it indicates that native and invasive plant species may require similar natural conditions, but that the invasive plant species seem more dependent and influenced by anthropogenic disturbance factors.

Keywords

Anthropogenic disturbance Biodiversity Native species Biological invasions Distribution Himalayas 

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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khem Raj Bhattarai
    • 1
  • Inger Elisabeth Måren
    • 2
  • Suresh Chandra Subedi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Plant ResourcesNational Herbarium and Plant LaboratoriesLalitpurNepal
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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