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Non-native vascular flora of the Arctic: Taxonomic richness, distribution and pathways

  • Pawel WasowiczEmail author
  • Alexander N. Sennikov
  • Kristine B. Westergaard
  • Katie Spellman
  • Matthew Carlson
  • Lynn J. Gillespie
  • Jeffery M. Saarela
  • Steven S. Seefeldt
  • Bruce Bennett
  • Christian Bay
  • Stefanie Ickert-Bond
  • Henry Väre
Terrestrial Biodiversity in a Rapidly Changing Arctic


We present a comprehensive list of non-native vascular plants known from the Arctic, explore their geographic distribution, analyze the extent of naturalization and invasion among 23 subregions of the Arctic, and examine pathways of introductions. The presence of 341 non-native taxa in the Arctic was confirmed, of which 188 are naturalized in at least one of the 23 regions. A small number of taxa (11) are considered invasive; these plants are known from just three regions. In several Arctic regions there are no naturalized non-native taxa recorded and the majority of Arctic regions have a low number of naturalized taxa. Analyses of the non-native vascular plant flora identified two main biogeographic clusters within the Arctic: American and Asiatic. Among all pathways, seed contamination and transport by vehicles have contributed the most to non-native plant introduction in the Arctic.


Alien species Arctic Invasive species Non-native species Pathways Vascular plants 



We thank Hólmgrímur Helgason from CAFF secretariat for his help in the preparation of Figs. 2 and 3.

Supplementary material

13280_2019_1296_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1067 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Icelandic Institute of Natural HistoryAkureyriIceland
  2. 2.Botanical Museum, Finnish Museum of Natural HistoryUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Komarov Botanical InstituteSt. PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway
  5. 5.International Arctic Research CenterUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  6. 6.Alaska Center for Conservation ScienceUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
  7. 7.Research and CollectionsCanadian Museum of NatureOttawaCanada
  8. 8.Botany Section and Centre for Arctic Knowledge & Exploration, Research and CollectionsCanadian Museum of NatureOttawaCanada
  9. 9.Washington State University-Mount Vernon Northwest Research and Extension CenterMount VernonUSA
  10. 10.Yukon Department of EnvironmentConservation Data CentreWhitehorseCanada
  11. 11.Institute for BioscienceAarhus UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  12. 12.Herbarium (ALA), Museum of the NorthUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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