Introduction history and invasion success in exotic vines introduced to Autralia

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Diversity and Distributions


The ecological damage caused by invasive vines poses a considerable threat to many natural ecosystems. However, very little data are available for this potentially envi- ronmentally destructive functional group in Australia. In order to address this paucity of information, we assembled the first inventory of exotic vines that have become established in natural ecosystems across Australia. The influence that intro- duction history attributes, variables that relate to the introduction of a species to a new area, may have on the occurrence and distribution of exotic vines was also determined. We asked whether the continent of origin, reason for introduction, and residence time related to the prevalence and distribution of exotic vines across Australia. A total of 179 exotic climbing plant species from 40 different families were found to have become established across continental Australia. However, five families accounted for over 50% of these species. Most exotic vines originated from South America, and were introduced for ornamental purposes. The length of time in which an exotic vine had been present in its new range was significantly related to its distribution, with a positive relationship found between residence time and area of occupancy across the continent. No other introduction history attribute was significantly related to the area of occupancy, or distribution, of a species. This suggests that while the trends found among introduction history attributes are important in explaining the prevalence of exotic vines in Australia, only residence time is currently a useful predictor of their future success.

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