Temporal introduction patterns of invasive alien plant species to Australia

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Journal Article
NeoBiota, 2012, 13 pp. 1 - 14
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We examined temporal introduction patterns of 132 invasive alien plant species (IAPS) to Australia since European colonisation in 1770. Introductions of IAPS were high during 18101820 (10 species), 1840 1880 (51 species, 38 of these between 1840 and 1860) and 19301940 (9 species). Conspicuously few introductions occurred during 10-year periods directly preceding each introduction peak. Peaks during early European settlement (18101820) and human range expansion across the continent (1840-1860) both coincided with considerable growth in Australias human population. We suggest that population growth during these times increased the likelihood of introduced plant species becoming invasive as a result of increased colonization and propagule pressure. Deliberate introductions of IAPS (104 species) far outnumbered accidental introductions (28 species) and were particularly prominent during early settlement. Cosmopolitan IAPS (25 species) and those native solely to South America (53 species), Africa (27 species) and Asia (19 species) have been introduced deliberately and accidentally to Australia across a broad period of time. A small number of IAPS, native solely to Europe (5 species) and North America (2 species), were all introduced to Australia prior to 1880. These contrasting findings for native range suggest some role for habitat matching, with similar environmental conditions in Australia potentially driving the proliferation of IAPS native to southern-hemisphere regions.
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