Alien phytogeographic regions of southern Africa: Numerical classification, possible drivers, and regional threats

Hugo, Sanet, Van Rensburg, Berndt J., Van Wyk, Abraham E. and Steenkamp, Yolande (2012) Alien phytogeographic regions of southern Africa: Numerical classification, possible drivers, and regional threats. Plos One, 7 5: e36269.1-e36269.10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036269

Author Hugo, Sanet
Van Rensburg, Berndt J.
Van Wyk, Abraham E.
Steenkamp, Yolande
Title Alien phytogeographic regions of southern Africa: Numerical classification, possible drivers, and regional threats
Journal name Plos One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2012-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0036269
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 7
Issue 5
Start page e36269.1
End page e36269.10
Total pages 10
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract The distributions of naturalised alien plant species that have invaded natural or semi-natural habitat are often geographically restricted by the environmental conditions in their new range, implying that alien species with similar environmental requirements and tolerances may form assemblages and characterise particular areas. The aim of this study was to use objective numerical techniques to reveal any possible alien phytogeographic regions (i.e. geographic areas with characteristic alien plant assemblages) in southern Africa. Quarter degree resolution presence records of naturalised alien plant species of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana were analysed through a divisive hierarchical classification technique, and the output was plotted on maps for further interpretation. The analyses revealed two main alien phytogeographic regions that could be subdivided into eight lower level phytogeographic regions. Along with knowledge of the environmental requirements of the characteristic species and supported by further statistical analyses, we hypothesised on the main drivers of alien phytogeographic regions, and suggest that environmental features such as climate and associated biomes were most important, followed by human activities that modify climatic and vegetation features, such as irrigation and agriculture. Most of the characteristic species are not currently well-known as invasive plant species, but many may have potential to become troublesome in the future. Considering the possibility of biotic homogenization, these findings have implications for predicting the characteristics of the plant assemblages of the future. However, the relatively low quality of the dataset necessitates further more in-depth studies with improved data before the findings could be directly beneficial for management.
Keyword Plant invasions
Biotic homogenization
Species richness
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article number e36269

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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