Skip to main content Accessibility help

Land Use, Landscapes, and Biological Invasions

  • Karie L. Decker (a1), Craig R. Allen (a2), Leonardo Acosta (a3), Michelle L. Hellman (a1), Christopher F. Jorgensen (a1), Ryan J. Stutzman (a1), Kody M. Unstad (a1), Amy Williams (a1) and Matthew Yans (a3)...


The negative effect of invasive species on native species, communities, and ecosystems is widely recognized, and the economic effects in the United States are estimated to be billions of dollars annually. Studies often examine traits of nonnative species or examine what makes a particular habitat invasible. To better understand the factors governing invasions, we used the flora of Nebraska to characterize and compare native and nonnative plant occurrences throughout the state. In addition, we assessed four critical landscape predictors of nonnative plant richness: human population size and three land cover attributes that included percentage of grassland, percentage of agriculture, and percentage of public lands. Results indicated that individual plant species richness has increased by about 35% through invasions (primarily of annuals from the family Poaceae). In addition, human population density, percentage of agriculture, and percentage of public lands all show a positive association with nonnative plant richness. Successful plant invasions may change the composition of species communities, basic ecological functions, and the delivery of ecosystem services. Thus, identifying the factors that influence such variation in distribution patterns can be fundamental to recognizing the present and potential future extent of nonnative plant infestations and, in turn, developing appropriate management programs.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Allen, C. R. and Holling, C. 2010. Novelty, adaptive capacity, and resilience. Ecol. Soc. 15:24. Accessed: April 15, 2011.
Allen, J. A., Brown, C. S., and Stohlgren, T. J. 2009. Non-native plant invasions of United States National Parks. Biol. Invasions 11:21952207.
Bakker, J. P. 1989. Nature management by grazing and cutting. London Kluwer Academic.
Bazzaz, F. A. 1986. Life history of colonizing plants: some demographic, genetic, and physiological features. Pages 96110 in Baker, H. G., Mooney, H. A., and Drake, J. A., eds. Ecology of Biological Invasions of North America and Hawaii. New York Springer-Verlag.
Bishop, A., Liske-Clark, J., and Grosse, R. 2009. Nebraska Land Cover Development. Grand Island, NE Great Plains Geographic Information Service Partnership, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Blossey, B. and Notzold, R. 1995. Evolution of increased competitive ability in invasive nonindigenous plants: a hypothesis. J. Ecol. 83:887889.
Briske, D. D., Fuhlendorf, S. D., and Smeins, F. E. 2006. A unified framework for assessment and application of ecological thresholds. Range Ecol. Manag. 59:225236.
Burnham, K. P. and Anderson, D. R. 2002. Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretical approach. 2nd ed. New York Springer.
Chapin, F. S., Zavaleta, E. S., Eviner, V. T., Naylor, R. L., Vitousek, P. M., Reynolds, H. L., Hooper, D. U., Lavorel, S., Sala, O. E., Hobbie, S. E., Mack, M. C., and Diaz, S. 2000. Consequences of changing biodiversity. Nature 405:234242.
Charles, H. and Dukes, J. S. 2007. Impacts of invasive species on ecosystem services. Pages 217237 in Nentwig, W., ed. Biological Invasions (Ecological Studies, Vol. 193). Berlin Springer-Verlag.
Christian, J. M. and Wilson, S. D. 1999. Long-term ecosystem impacts of an introduced grass in the northern Great Plains. Ecology 80:23972407.
Crawley, M. J. and Brown, S. L. 1995. Seed limitation and the dynamics of feral oilseed rape on the M25 motorway. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 259:4954.
Daehler, C. C. 2003. Performance comparisons of co-occurring native and alien plants: Implications for conservation and restoration. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 34:183211.
D'Antonio, C. M. and Vitousek, P. M. 1992 Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle, and global change. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 23:6387.
Dyer, A. R. and Rice, K. J. 1999. Effects of competition on resource availability and growth of a California bunchgrass. Ecology 80:26972710.
Elton, C. S. 1958. The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants. London Methuen.
Forys, E. A. and Allen, C. R. 1999. Biological invasions and deletions: community change in south Florida. Biol. Conserv. 87:341347.
Gavier-Pizarro, G., Radeloff, V., Stewart, S., Huebner, C., and Keuler, N. 2010. Housing is positively associated with invasive exotic plant species richness in New England, USA. Ecol. Appl. 20:19131925.
Gunderson, L., Allen, C. R., and Holling, C. S. 2009. Foundations of Resilience. New York Island.
Heger, T. and Trepl, L. 2003. Predicting biological invasions. Biol. Invasions 5:313321.
Heywood, V. 1989. Patterns, extents and modes of invasions by terrestrial plants. Pages 3160 in Drake, J. A., Mooney, H. A., di Castri, F., Groves, R. H., Kruger, F. J., Rejmánek, M., and Williamson, M., eds. Biological Invasions: A Global Perspective. New York J. Wiley.
Higgins, S. I., Richardson, D. M., and Cowling, R. M. 2000. Using a dynamic landscape model for planning the management of alien plant invasions. Ecol. Appl. 10:18331848.
Hodkinson, D. J. and Thompson, K. 1997. Plant dispersal: the role of man. J. Appl. Ecol. 34:14841496.
Holling, C. S. 1973. Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 4:123.
Ibanez, I., Silander, J. A., Wilson, A. M., LaFleur, N., Tanaka, N., and Tsuyama, I. 2009. Multivariate forecasts of potential distributions of invasive plant species. Ecol. Appl. 19:359375.
Kaul, R. B., Sutherland, D., and Rolfsmeier, S. 2006. The Flora of Nebraska. Lincoln, NE School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska.
Kennedy, T. A., Naeem, S., Howe, K. M., Knops, J. M. H., Tilman, D., and Reich, P. 2002. Biodiversity as a barrier to ecological invasion. Nature 417:636638.
Larson, D. L., Anderson, P. J., and Newton, W. 2001. Alien plant invasion in mixed-grass prairie: effects of vegetation type and anthropogenic disturbance. Ecol. Appl. 11:128141.
Levine, J. M., Adler, P. B., and Yelenik, S. G. 2004. A meta-analysis of biotic resistance to exotic plant invasions. Ecol. Lett. 7:975989.
Lloret, F., Medail, F., Brundu, G., Camarda, I., Moragues, E., Rita, J., Lambdon, P., and Hulme, P. E. 2005. Species attributes and invasion success by alien plants on Mediterranean islands. J. Ecol. 93:512520.
Lonsdale, W. M. 1999. Global patterns of plant invasions and the concept of invasibility. Ecology 80:15221536.
Lundgren, M. R., Small, C. J., and Dreyer, G. D. 2004. Influence of land use and site characteristics on invasive plant abundance in the Quinebaugh Highlands of southern New England. Northeast. Nat. 11:313332.
Mack, R. N., Simberloff, D., Lonsdale, W. M., Evans, H., Clout, M., and Bazzaz, F. 2000. Biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecol. Appl. 10:689710.
Maskell, L. C., Bullock, J. M., Smart, S. M., Thompson, K., and Hulme, P. E. 2006. The distribution and habitat associations of non-native plant species in urban riparian habitats. J. Veg. Sci. 17:499508.
McCanny, S. J. and Cavers, P. B. 1988. Spread of proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) in Ontario, Canada, II: dispersal by combines. Weed Res. 28:6772.
McKinney, M. L. 2001. Effects of human population, area and time on nonnative plant and fish diversity in the United States. Biol. Conserv. 100:243252.
McKinney, M. L. 2006. Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biol. Conserv. 127:247260.
Mooney, H. A. and Cleland, E. E. 2001. The evolutionary impact of invasive species. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 98:54465451.
Naeem, S., Knops, J. M. H., Tilman, D., Howe, K. M., Kennedy, T., and Gale, S. 2000. Plant diversity increases resistance to invasion in the absence of covarying extrinsic factors. Oikos 91:97108.
Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. Data Bank Political Boundary Databases. Accessed April 8, 2010.
Orrock, J. L., Witter, M. S., and Reichman, O. J. 2008. Apparent competition with an exotic plant reduces native plant establishment. Ecology 89:11681174.
Pejchar, L. and Mooney, H. A. 2009. Invasive species, ecosystem services and human well-being. Trends Ecol. Evol. 24:497504.
Peterson, A. T., Papes, M., and Kluza, D. A. 2003. Predicting the potential invasive distributions of four alien plant species in North America. Weed Sci. 51:863868.
Pimentel, D., Lach, L., Zuniga, R., and Morrison, D. 2000. Environmental and economic costs of nonindigenous species in the United States. Bioscience 50:5365.
Pimentel, D., Zuniga, R., and Morrison, D. 2005. Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecol. Econ. 52:273288.
Pyšek, P., Jarošík, V., and Kucera, T. 2002. Patterns of invasion in temperate nature reserves. Biol. Conserv. 104:1324.
Pyšek, P. 1998. Is there a taxonomic pattern to plant invasions? Oikos 82:282294.
Pyšek, P. and Richardson, D. M. 2007. Traits associated with invasiveness in alien plants: where do we stand? Pages 97125 in Nentwig, W., ed. Biological Invasions (Ecological Studies, Vol. 193). Berlin Springer-Verlag.
Pyšek, P., Bacher, S., Chytrý, M., et al. 2010. Contrasting patterns in the invasions of European terrestrial and freshwater habitats by alien plants, insects and vertebrates. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 19:317331.
Radford, I. J. and Cousens, R. D. 2000. Invasiveness and comparative life-history traits of exotic and indigenous Senecio species in Australia. Oecologia 125:531542.
Rejmanek, M. and Richardson, D. M. 1996. What attributes make some plant species more invasive? Ecology 77:16551661.
Rejmánek, M. 2003. The rich get richer—responses. Front. Ecol. Environ. 1(3):122123.
Roy, D. B., Hill, M. O., and Rothery, P. 1999. Effects of urban land cover on the local species pool in Britain. Ecography 22:507515.
Salisbury, E. J. 1961. Weeds and Aliens. London Collins.
Schneider, R., Humpert, M., Stoner, K., and Steinauer, G. 2005. The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project: A Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. Lincoln, NE Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Management Plan.
Smith, M. D. and Knapp, A. K. 2001. Physiological and morphological traits of exotic, invasive exotic, and native plant species in tallgrass prairie. Int. J. Plant Sci. 162:785792.
Stohlgren, T. J., Binkley, D., Chong, G. W., Kalkhan, M. A., Schell, L. D., Bull, K. A., Otsuki, Y., Newman, G., Bashkin, M., and Son, Y. 1999. Exotic plant species invade hot spots of native plant diversity. Ecol. Monogr. 69:2546.
Sutton, J. R., Stohlgren, T. J., and Beck, K. G. 2007. Predicting yellow toadflax infestations in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado. Biol. Invasions 9:783793.
Tonkin, J. H. B. 1982. The presence of seed impurities in samples of cereal seed tested at the Official Seed Testing Station, Cambridge in the period of 1979–1981. Asp. Appl. Biol. 1:163171.
Thompson, K., Hodgson, G., and Rich, T. C. G. 1995. Native and invasive plants: more of the same? Ecography 18:390402.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service. 2010. The PLANTS Database. Greensboro, NC National Plant Data Team. Accessed: July 6, 2010.
U.S. Geological Survey, National Biological Information Infrastructure, Gap Analysis Program (GAP). May 2010. Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) Version 1.1. Reston, VA USGS.
Van Clef, M. and Stiles, E. W. 2001. Seed longevity in three pairs of native and non-native congeners: assessing invasive potential. Northeast. Nat. 8:301310.
Vicente, J., Alves, P., Randin, C., Guisan, A., and Honrado, J. 2010. What drives invisibility? A multi-model inference test and spatial modeling of alien plant species richness in northern Portugal. Ecography 33:10811092.
Vitousek, P. M., D'Antonio, C. M., Loope, L. L., Rejmanek, M., and Westbrooks, R. 1997. Introduced species: a significant component of human caused global change. N. Z. J. Ecol. 21:116.
Vitousek, P. M., D'Antonio, C. M., Loope, L. L., and Westbrooks, R. 1996. Biological invasions as global environmental change. Am. Sci. 84:468–78.
Whitney, K. D. and Gabler, C. A. 2008. Rapid evolution in introduced species, ‘invasive traits’ and recipient communities: challenges for predicting invasive potential. Diversity Distrib. 14:569580.
Williamson, M. H. and Fitter, A. 1996. The characters of successful invaders. Biol. Conserv. 78:163170.


Land Use, Landscapes, and Biological Invasions

  • Karie L. Decker (a1), Craig R. Allen (a2), Leonardo Acosta (a3), Michelle L. Hellman (a1), Christopher F. Jorgensen (a1), Ryan J. Stutzman (a1), Kody M. Unstad (a1), Amy Williams (a1) and Matthew Yans (a3)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed