A global analysis of elevational distribution of non-native versus native plants

  • Authors: Guo, Qinfeng; Fei, Songlin; Shen, Zehao; Iannone, Basil V; Knott, Jonathan; Chown, Steven L.
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Journal of Biogeography
  • DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13145

Listen to a brief audio clip by author Qinfeng Guo describing this publication. • Text Transcript


Aim: Much is known about the elevational diversity patterns of native species and about the mechanisms that drive these patterns. A similar level of understanding is needed for non-native species. Using published data, we examine elevational diversity patterns of non-native plants and compare the resulting patterns with those observed for native plants. Location: Global. Methods: We compiled data from 65 case studies on elevational diversity patterns of non-native plants around the world (including 32 cases in which both non-native and native plants were sampled). We compared the elevational distributions (upper and lower limits, and extents) and diversity patterns of non-native and native species. Results: Compared to native plant species, the elevational diversity patterns of nonnative plant species were more negative (47% vs. 13%) and less unimodal (44% vs. 84%). That is, non-native species richness tended to be highest at lower elevations, whereas native species richness peaked at mid-elevations. In cases where species richness for both non-native and native species on the same mountains showed unimodal patterns in relation to elevation, maximum values in species richness occurred at lower elevations for non-native species. Main conclusions: At present levels of invasion, non-native and native species show different patterns in both distribution and diversity along elevational gradients worldwide. However, our observations constitute a snapshot of ongoing, long-term invasion processes. As non-native species typically show strong associations with human activities, future changes in human population (e.g. growth and migration), land use and climate change may promote upward spread of non-native species and may thus increase risks of impact on native species and communities.

Sound Research audio clip of this publication is available.

  • Citation: Guo, Qinfeng; Fei, Songlin; Shen, Zehao; Iannone, Basil V.; Knott, Jonathan; Chown, Steven L. 2018. A global analysis of elevational distribution of non-native versus native plants. Journal of Biogeography. 45(4): 793-803. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13145.
  • Keywords: diversity, elevational patterns, global change, human, non-native, plant invasions, species richness
  • Posted Date: September 4, 2018
  • Modified Date: July 6, 2021
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