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New Insights on Species Invasions

March 5, 2013
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Land managers rely on ecological research to predict whether non-native species might invade an area and what the consequences will be. But according to a new study by Bullard Fellow Martha Hoopes and colleagues, the factors used to predict whether a species will invade an ecosystem are not always useful for predicting how harmful the invasion will be.

Some non-native species can strongly alter ecosystems even when they are sparsely distributed in the landscape. Other non-native species, even when they are widespread and abundant, are not necessarily disruptive. Without general rules for predicting the consequences of invasions, land managers have few methods to guide their decisions about which non-native species to focus on for prevention or control.

Hoopes and her colleagues addressed this issue by reviewing a series of hypotheses, or potential explanatory factors, to direct researchers and land managers toward the most useful approaches.

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