Biological Invasions

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 549–553 | Cite as

The exponential growth of invasive species denialism

  • Anthony RicciardiEmail author
  • Rachael Ryan
Invasion Note


Since the 1990s, there have appeared numerous articles in scholarly journals and the popular press that deny the risks posed by non-native species and claim that the field of invasion biology is biased, uninformative and pseudoscientific. Unlike normal scientific debates, which are evidence based, this discourse typically uses rhetorical arguments to disregard, misrepresent or reject evidence in attempt to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that species introductions pose significant risks to biodiversity and ecosystems; thus, it is similar to the denialism that has affected climate science and medical science. Invasive species denialism, like science denialism in general, is typically expressed in forums where it avoids expert peer review. Denialist articles have increased exponentially over the past three decades, most notably in the mainstream popular press. This burgeoning phenomenon could impede development and implementation of policies designed to safeguard against invasive species spread and impact.


Invasion biology Science denialism Post-truth Temporal trend Science communication 



We thank Petr Pyšek and Dan Simberloff for constructive comments on the manuscript. Funding from the Canadian Wildlife Federation and NSERC Canada is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

10530_2017_1561_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (169 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 169 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Redpath Museum, McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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