Rojas-Sandoval, Julissa, Tremblay, Raymond L., Acevedo-Rodríguez, Pedro, and Díaz-Soltero, Hilda. 2017. "Invasive plant species in the West Indies: geographical, ecological, and floristic insights." Ecology and Evolution 7 (13):4522-4533. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2984
The level of invasion (number or proportion of invasive species) in a given area depends on features of the invaded community, propagule pressure, and climate. In this study, we assess the invasive flora of nine islands in the West Indies to identify invasion patterns and evaluate whether invasive species diversity is related to geographical, ecological, and socioeconomic factors. We compiled a database of invasive plant species including information on their taxonomy, origin, pathways of introduction, habitats, and life history. This database was used to evaluate the similarity of invasive floras between islands and to identify invasion patterns at regional (West Indies) and local (island) scales. We found a total of 516 alien plant species that are invasive on at least one of the nine islands studied, with between 24 to 306 invasive species per island. The invasive flora on these islands includes a wide range of taxonomic groups, life forms, and habitats. We detected low similarity in invasive species diversity between islands, with most invasive species (>60%) occurring on a single island and 6% occurring on at least five islands. To assess the importance of different models in predicting patterns of invasive species diversity among islands, we used generalized linear models. Our analyses revealed that invasive species diversity was well predicted by a combination of island area and economic development (gross domestic product per capita and kilometers of paved roadways). Our results provide strong evidence for the roles of geographical, ecological, and socioeconomic factors in determining the distribution and spread of invasive species on these islands. Anthropogenic disturbance and economic development seem to be the major drivers facilitating the spread and predominance of invasive species over native species.