Biotic Resistance to Plant Invasions

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Contribution to Book

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Source Publication

Plant Invasions: The Role of Biotic Interactions

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Original Item ID

DOI: 10.1079/9781789242171.0009


Biotic resistance to plant invasions takes many forms: consumption by native herbivores, competition with native plants and infection by native pathogens. But how often does biotic resistance prevent the damaging monocultures that typify the most problematic plant invaders, and how often is biotic resistance overwhelmed by the direct and indirect impacts of human activities? This chapter attempts to answer these questions, drawing on the long history of research into biotic resistance. We first briefly describe the major forms of biotic resistance to exotic plant invasions as an antecedent to other, more detailed chapters on competition, herbivory and pathogens. We then describe a new neutral model where variance in disturbance promotes invasions over the short term, but over longer timescales only propagule pressure drives invasions. These findings are a cautionary tale; pending increases in global trade and travel, particularly to the tropics, may provide the prerequisite disturbance and propagule pressure needed to ultimately stoke further invasions. Finally, we highlight case studies where invasions have been mitigated by restoration of biotic resistance from native herbivores and competitors. These studies provide strong empirical support that conservation of native biodiversity can be a nature-based solution to some invasions, although it remains to be seen if climate change will alter these effects over longer timescales.


"Biotic Resistance to Plant Invasions" in Plant Invasions: The Role of Biotic Interactions. Eds. Anna Traveset and David M. Richardson. Wallingford UK: CABI, 2020: 177-191. DOI.