Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Basil V. Iannone III; Kevin M. PotterQinfeng GuoAndrew M. Liebhold; Bryan C. Pijanowski; Christopher M. Oswalt; Songlin Fei
    Date: 2015
    Source: Ecography
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (6.0 MB)


    Invader traits (including plant growth form) may play an important, and perhaps overlooked, role in determining macroscale patterns of biological invasions and therefore warrant greater consideration in future investigations aimed at understanding these patterns. To assess this need, we used empirical data from a national-level survey of forest in the contiguous 48 states of the USA to identify geographic hotspots of forest plant invasion for three distinct invasion characteristics: invasive species richness, trait richness (defined as the number of the five following plant growth forms represented by the invasive plants present at a given location: forbs, grasses, shrubs, trees, and vines), and species richness within each growth form. Three key findings emerged. 1) The hotspots identified encompassed from 9 to 23% of the total area of our study region, thereby revealing many forests to be not only invaded, but highly invaded. 2) Substantial spatial disagreement among hotspots of invasive species richness, invasive trait richness, and species richness of invasive plants within each growth form revealed many locations to be hotspots for invader traits, or for particular growth forms of invasive plants, rather than for invasive plants in general. 3) Despite eastern forests exhibiting higher levels of plant invasion than western forests, species richness for invasive forbs and grasses in the west were respectively greater than and equivalent to levels found in the east. Contrasting patterns between eastern and western forests in the number of invasive species detected for each growth form combined with the spatial disagreement found among hotspot types suggests trait-based variability invasion drivers. Our findings reveal invader traits to be an important contributor to macroscale invasion patterns.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Iannone III, Basil V.; Potter, Kevin M.; Guo, Qinfeng; Liebhold, Andrew M.; Pijanowski, Bryan C.; Oswalt, Christopher M.; Fei, Songlin. 2015. Biological invasion hotspots: a trait-based perspective reveals new sub-continental patterns. Ecography 39: 961-969  9 p.  10.1111/ecog.01973


    Google Scholar

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page