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Similar factors underlie tree abundance in forests in native and alien ranges


Masha T. van der Sande

Helge Bruelheide

Wayne Dawson


Franz Essl

Sylvia Haider

Mark van Kleunen

Holger Kreft

Joern Pagel

Jan Pergl

Oliver Purschke


Patrick Weigelt

Marten Winter

Fabio Attorre

Isabelle Aubin

Erwin Bergmeier


Matteo Dainese

Michele De Sanctis

Jaime Fagundez

Valentin Golub

Greg R. Guerin

Alvaro G.

Ute Jandt

Florian Jansen


Jens Kattge

Elizabeth Kearsley

Stefan Klotz

Koen Kramer

Marco Moretti


Robert K. Peet

Josep Penuelas


Peter B. Reich

Brody Sandel

Marco Schmidt

Maria Sibikova

Cyrille Violle

Timothy J.S. Whitfeld

Thomas Wohlgemuth

Tiffany M. Knight


© 2019 The Authors. Global Ecology and Biogeography published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: Alien plant species can cause severe ecological and economic problems, and therefore attract a lot of research interest in biogeography and related fields. To identify potential future invasive species, we need to better understand the mechanisms underlying the abundances of invasive tree species in their new ranges, and whether these mechanisms differ between their native and alien ranges. Here, we test two hypotheses: that greater relative abundance is promoted by (a) functional difference from locally co-occurring trees, and (b) higher values than locally co-occurring trees for traits linked to competitive ability. Location: Global. Time period: Recent. Major taxa studied: Trees. Methods: We combined three global plant databases: sPlot vegetation-plot database, TRY plant trait database and Global Naturalized Alien Flora (GloNAF) database. We used a hierarchical Bayesian linear regression model to assess the factors associated with variation in local abundance, and how these relationships vary between native and alien ranges and depend on species’ traits. Results: In both ranges, species reach highest abundance if they are functionally similar to co-occurring species, yet are taller and have higher seed mass and wood density than co-occurring species. Main conclusions: Our results suggest that light limitation leads to strong environmental and biotic filtering, and that it is advantageous to be taller and have denser wood. The striking similarities in abundance between native and alien ranges imply that information from tree species’ native ranges can be used to predict in which habitats introduced species may become dominant.


van der Sande, M. T., Bruelheide, H., Dawson, W., Dengler, J., Essl, F., Field, R., …Knight, T. M. (2020). Similar factors underlie tree abundance in forests in native and alien ranges. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 29(2), 281-294.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 8, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 1, 2019
Publication Date 2020-02
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2020
Journal Global Ecology and Biogeography
Print ISSN 1466-822X
Electronic ISSN 1466-8238
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 2
Pages 281-294
Keywords Ecology; Global and Planetary Change; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Public URL
Publisher URL


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