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Bioinvasions and GlobalizationEcology, Economics, Management, and Policy$
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Charles Perrings, Harold Mooney, and Mark Williamson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199560158

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560158.001.0001

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Variation in the Rate and Pattern of Spread in Introduced Species and its Implications

Variation in the Rate and Pattern of Spread in Introduced Species and its Implications

(p.56) Chapter 5 Variation in the Rate and Pattern of Spread in Introduced Species and its Implications
Bioinvasions and Globalization

Mark Williamson

Oxford University Press

The variation in spread rate both within and between species is considerable. Managers' attention is inevitably on those that spread fast. This chapter shows that those that spread slowly need to be watched too. Just because an alien species has a small range now does not mean that it will not eventually be widespread. The literature is full of instances of plants that were initially thought benign, even beneficial, which came to be regarded as pests when they became widespread. Lags in spread are common and measured in decades. The time to become widespread after the lag period is finished is often considerable, measured in centuries even in state-sized areas. Both these effects raise problems for managers. Often, resources seem only sufficient to tackle species that are already pests, but it might nevertheless be a good long-term strategy to devote some effort to studying those established aliens which appear benign, to see if they are likely to become pests.

Keywords:   invasive species, biological invasions, species invasion, variation, spread rates

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