Learning from the past to predict the future: an historical analysis of grass invasions in northern Australia

van Klinken, Rieks D., Panetta, F. Dane, Coutts, Shaun and Simon, Bryan K. (2015) Learning from the past to predict the future: an historical analysis of grass invasions in northern Australia. Biological Invasions, 17 2: 565-579. doi:10.1007/s10530-014-0749-3

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Author van Klinken, Rieks D.
Panetta, F. Dane
Coutts, Shaun
Simon, Bryan K.
Title Learning from the past to predict the future: an historical analysis of grass invasions in northern Australia
Journal name Biological Invasions   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1387-3547
Publication date 2015-02-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10530-014-0749-3
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 17
Issue 2
Start page 565
End page 579
Total pages 15
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Language eng
Formatted abstract
An important focus of biosecurity is anticipating future risks, but time lags between introduction, naturalisation, and (ultimately) impact mean that future risks can be strongly influenced by history. We conduct a comprehensive historical analysis of tropical grasses (n = 155) that have naturalised in Australia since European settlement (1788) to determine what factors shaped historical patterns of naturalisation and future risks, including for the 21 species that cause serious negative impacts. Most naturalised species were from the Old World (78 %), were introduced for use in pasture (64.5 %), were first recorded prior to 1940 (84.5 %) and naturalised before 1980 (90.3 %). Patterns for high-impact species were similar, with all being first recorded in Australia by 1940, and only seven naturalised since then—five intentionally introduced as pasture species. Counter to expectations, we found no evidence for increased naturalisation with increasing trade, including for species introduced unintentionally for which the link was expected to be strongest. New pathways have not emerged since the 1930s despite substantial shifts in trading patterns. Furthermore, introduction and naturalisation rates are now at or approaching historically low levels. Three reasons were identified: (1) the often long lag phase between introduction and reported naturalisation means naturalisation rates reflect historical trends in introduction rates; (2) important introduction pathways are not directly related to trade volume and globalisation; and (3) that species pools may become depleted. The last of these appears to be the case for the most important pathway for tropical grasses, i.e. the intentional introduction of useful pasture species. Assuming that new pathways don’t arise that might result in increased naturalisation rates, and that current at-border biosecurity practices remain in place, we conclude that most future high-impact tropical grass species are already present in Australia. Our results highlight the need to continually test underlying assumptions regarding future naturalisation rates of high-impact invasive species, as conclusions have important implications for how best to manage future biosecurity risks.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 23 June 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 28 Aug 2014, 22:59:34 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences