Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220


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Published online December 4, 2021

Journal of Ecology and Environment (2021) 45:29

© The Ecological Society of Korea.

Major environmental factors and traits of invasive alien plants determining their spatial distribution

Minwoo Oh1, Yoonjeong Heo1, Eun Ju Lee1 and Hyohyemi Lee2

School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea; National Institute of Ecology, Seocheon, Republic of Korea

Correspondence to:Hyohyemi Lee

Received: October 1, 2021; Accepted: November 8, 2021

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As trade increases, the influx of various alien species and their spread to new regions are prevalent and no longer a special problem. Anthropogenic activities and climate changes have made the distribution of alien species out of their native range common. As a result, alien species can be easily found anywhere, and they have nothing but only a few differences in intensity. The prevalent distribution of alien species adversely affects the ecosystem, and a strategic management plan must be established to control them effectively. To this end, hot spots and cold spots were analyzed according to the degree of distribution of invasive alien plants, and major environmental factors related to hot spots were found. We analyzed the 10,287 distribution points of 126 species of alien plants collected through the national survey of alien species by the hierarchical model of species communities (HMSC) framework.>


The explanatory and fourfold cross-validation predictive power of the model were 0.91 and 0.75 as AUC values, respectively. The hot spots of invasive plants were found in the Seoul metropolitan area, Daegu metropolitan city, Chungcheongbuk-do Province, southwest shore, and Jeju island. Generally, the hot spots were found where the higher maximum temperature of summer, precipitation of winter, and road density are observed, but temperature seasonality, annual temperature range, precipitation of the summer, and distance to river and sea were negatively related to the hot spots. According to the model, the functional traits accounted for 55% of the variance explained by the environmental factors. The species with higher specific leaf areas were more found where temperature seasonality was low. Taller species preferred the bigger annual temperature range. The heavier seed mass was only preferred when the max temperature of summer exceeded 29 °C.>


In this study, hot spots were places where 2.1 times more alien plants were distributed on average than non-hot spots (33.5 vs 15.7 species). The hot spots of invasive plants were expected to appear in less stressful climate conditions, such as low fluctuation of temperature and precipitation. Also, the disturbance by anthropogenic factors or water flow had positive influences on the hot spots. These results were consistent with the previous reports about the ruderal or competitive strategies of invasive plants instead of the stress-tolerant strategy. The functional traits are closely related to the ecological strategies of plants by shaping the response of species to various environmental filters, and our result confirmed this. Therefore, in order to effectively control alien plants, it is judged that the occurrence of disturbed sites in which alien plants can grow in large quantities is minimized, and the river management of waterfronts is required.

Keywords: Invasive alien plants, Functional traits, Habitat suitability, Hot spot, Species distribution model

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Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220