Biodiversity Science ›› 2012, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (5): 581-611.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2012.31148

Special Issue: The 20th Anniversary of Biodiversity Science

• Editorial • Previous Article     Next Article

Progress of biological invasions research in China over the last decade

Ruiting Ju1, 2, Hui Li1, Chengjen Shih3, Bo Li1*   

  1. 1Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Coastal Ecosystems Research Station of the Yangtze River Estuary and Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433

    2Department of Plant Protection, Shanghai Institute of Landscape Gardening Science, Shanghai 200232

    3Department and Institute of Entomology, Taiwan University, Taipei 10617
  • Received:2012-07-26 Revised:2012-08-18 Online:2012-09-07
  • Bo Li

As one of the five major global environmental problems, invasive species have posed serious threats to native ecosystems, public health, and regional economies. Although much progress has been made in the field of biological invasions research in China over the last decade, there are still large knowledge gaps. This paper reviews progress in the field of biological invasions research since 2000 as it relates to China, covering the diversity, colonization and immigration patterns of invasive species, mechanisms and ecological effects of biological invasions, and management and control of invasive species. In China, 529 invasive alien species have been identified, which originated primarily from South and North America, and the major taxa included terrestrial plants, terrestrial invertebrates, and microorganisms. We found a higher prevalence of invasive species in the eastern and southern provinces, compared to the western and northern provinces in China. This pattern is likely due to the differences in the level of economic development and environmental suitability between the two regions. Moreover, with further economic development, China may face more serious biological invasions in the future. These invasions of alien species are largely the combined results of the interactions between the intrinsic traits of these species along with resource opportunities and disturbances by human beings. Many mechanisms are responsible for successful invasions of alien species, but phenotypic plasticity, adaptive evolution, enemy release, interspecific mutualism or commensalism, and new allelochemicals may be primary causative factors. Biological invasions in China have caused serious impacts on native ecosystems, including biodiversity and ecosystem services, alteration of biogeochemical cycles, threats to agricultural and forestry production, traffic and shipping, environmental safety, and public facilities. China has also made progress in the detection and monitoring of invasive species, risk analysis, biological control, radical elimination, and ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems. We suggest several issues that need to be addressed in invasive species research in the future, including territory-wide inventories, evolutionary ecology and genomics, direct and indirect ecosystem-level consequences, interactions between major components of global change and biological invasions, and management and control technologies.

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