Humans have been moving plants and animals around the world for many centuries. Some of these plants and animals often grow and adapt
to their new environment, becoming naturalised species. Naturalised species are species that grow and reproduce in the wild outside of
their original range.
A new study by C·I·B Associates Petr Pyšek and Franz Essl, and a team of international scientists has developed a
unique global database of plants to investigate the movements of plants from countries where they occur naturally to new regions of the
world. They used the database to determine which continents have the largest number of naturalised alien plants and which continents are
the major donors of naturalised alien plants to other parts of the world.
The team found that 13,168 plants (3.9% of the total plants worldwide) have become naturalised elsewhere as a result of human activity.
North America has the most naturalised alien plants with almost 6 000 species, followed by Europe with more than 4 000 species. The Pacific
Islands show the fastest increase in numbers with respect to their land area. Countries from northern hemisphere were found to be the
largest donors of plant species to other parts of the world.
“With continuing globalisation and increasing international traffic and trade, it is very likely that more species will be
introduced outside their natural ranges and naturalise.” says Petr Pyšek, senior author of the paper published in
Nature. He adds, “Our results quantify for the first time the extent of plant naturalisations worldwide and
highlight the urgent need for globally integrated efforts to control, manage and understand the spread of alien species.”
For more information, contact Petr Pyšek at email@example.com
Read the paper:
Van Kleunen, M et al., 2015. Global
exchange and accumulation of non-native plants. Nature doi:10.1038/nature14910
Watch the video (featured on Nature Video):
Should we be worried about invasion by plants? Experts from Kew Gardens tell Nature Video about their ongoing battle with the leafy interlopers. Read the related Nature paper, ‘Global exchange and accumulation of non-native plants’, here: http://bit.ly/1fraHHjPosted by Nature on Thursday, August 20, 2015