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Alien Plants in Checklists and Floras: Towards Better Communication between Taxonomists and Ecologists

Petr Pyšek, David M. Richardson, Marcel Rejmánek, Grady L. Webster, Mark Williamson and Jan Kirschner
Taxon
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 2004), pp. 131-143
DOI: 10.2307/4135498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4135498
Page Count: 13
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Alien Plants in Checklists and Floras: Towards Better Communication between Taxonomists and Ecologists
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Abstract

The number of studies dealing with plant invasions is increasing rapidly, but the accumulating body of knowledge has unfortunately also spawned increasing confusion about terminology. Invasions are a global phenomenon and comparison of geographically distant regions and their introduced biota is a crucially important methodological approach for elucidation of the determinants of invasiveness and invasibility. Comparative studies of alien floras provide substantial new insights to our understanding of general patterns of plant invasions. Such studies, using information in previously published floras and checklists, are fundamentally dependent on the quality of the assessment of particular species with respect to their taxonomic identity, time of immigration and invasion status. Three crucial decisions should be made when defining the status of a plant species in a given region: (1) whether the taxon is native or alien to that region (origin status); (2) what is its position in the invasion process, i.e., when was it introduced (residence status); and (3) what is the degree of its naturalization and possible invasion (invasion status). Standard floras differ hugely in their treatment of non-native species and those with appropriate categorization of alien species according to their status are rather rare. The present paper suggests definitions of terms associated with plant invasions and places these into the context of floras. Recommendations are outlined on how to deal with the issue of plant invasions in standard floras with the aim of contributing to a better understanding between taxonomists and ecologists and allowing more detailed comparative analyses of alien floras of various regions of the world.

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