Biological Invasions

, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 1345–1351 | Cite as

In search of a real definition of the biological invasion phenomenon itself

  • Loïc ValéryEmail author
  • Hervé Fritz
  • Jean-Claude Lefeuvre
  • Daniel Simberloff
Original Paper


The many qualifying terms attributed to invasive species reveal the lack of precision surrounding the notion of biological invasion itself. In spite of several proposed definitions, some basic disagreements persist concerning characterization of the phenomenon. These primarily arise from the lack of pertinence of both of the main current criteria—the geographic (or biogeographic) criterion and the impact criterion—to what is really intended by “invasion.” Faced with this situation, it seems preferable to adopt an ontological approach allowing a return to the basic principles of the elaboration of a definition. Starting with the nature of the phenomenon itself (i.e., its essence), we try to elucidate the notion of biological invasion and we suggest a general definition compatible with most of the ideas already expressed.


Biological invasion Definition Geographic criterion Impact criterion Interspecific competition Ontological approach 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loïc Valéry
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hervé Fritz
    • 2
  • Jean-Claude Lefeuvre
    • 1
  • Daniel Simberloff
    • 3
  1. 1.Département d’Ecologie et de Gestion de la Biodiversité, Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleUniversité de Rennes 1Rennes cedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie EvolutiveUniversité de Lyon, Université Lyon 1, CNRS, UMR 5558VilleurbanneFrance
  3. 3.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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