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Trends Ecol Evol. 2013 Apr;28(4):212-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.10.010. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Bias and error in understanding plant invasion impacts.

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The Bio-Protection Research Centre, PO Box 84, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand.


Quantitative assessments of alien plant impacts are essential to inform management to ensure that resources are prioritized against the most problematic species and that restoration targets the worst-affected ecosystem processes. Here, we present the first detailed critique of quantitative field studies of alien plant impacts and highlight biases in the biogeography and life form of the target species, the responses assessed, and the extent to which spatial variability is addressed. Observed impacts often fail to translate to ecosystem services or evidence of environmental degradation. The absence of overarching hypotheses regarding impacts has reduced the consistency of approaches worldwide and prevented the development of predictive tools. Future studies must ensure that the links between species traits, ecosystem stocks, and ecosystem flows, as well as ecosystem services, are explicitly defined.

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