Analysis and Synthesis
Volumes published since 2002 are listed at the end of this book.
With 38 Figures and 19 Tables
ISBN-10 3-540-36919-8 Springer Berlin Heidelberg New York
ISBN-13 978-3-540-36919-6 Springer Berlin Heidelberg New York
Library of Congress Control Number: 2006934733
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Editor: Dr.Dieter Czeschlik,Heidelberg,Germany
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University of Bern
Cover illustration:The cover drawing shows the global dimensions of three invasion his-
tories.(1) Imports of the first potato (Solanum tuberosum) from the Andean highlands
to Europe began around 1550. In the eighteenth century potatoes were brought to the
east coast of North America from where potato cultivation expanded to the west coast,
until potatoes came into contact with the native weed Solanum rostratum. From this
plant, the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) switched in 1859 to
Solanum tuberosum, reached via potato fields the east coast of North America, crossed
the Atlantic in 1874, and invaded Europe to East Asia. (2) The common water hyacinth
(Eichhornia crassipes),native to a small area in tropical South America,has been spread
into the tropical and subtropical areas of all continents.(3) In Brazil,cultivated European
honey bees (Apis mellifera) and African wild forms of the honey bee, were interbred.
Around 1956,colonies of the so-called Africanized honey bee escaped and these are cur-
rently spreading into North America.
Yet another book on “Biological Invasions”? It is true,the market already pro-
vides several recent works on this topic and, in the next few years, probably
many more will follow.There are,however,two important points which argue
in favour of the relevance and need of exactly this book.
Most books on biological invasions treat only a small part of the subject.
They cover either invasive plants or invasive pest arthropods,address invasive
species of a country,an island or a habitat,discuss the impact of alien species
on economy or evolution, or gather an impressive number of case studies.
This book is clearly different insofar that it attempts to cover all (or at least
most) of these undoubtedly very important topics.A joint effort of 42 special-
ists, it deals with plants and animals, includes both the terrestrial and the
aquatic environment,guides us from ecology via economy to socio-economy,
and comprises also administrative and management aspects.Our intention is
a strong focus on mechanisms and so,in the opening chapters we analyse the
main pathways of biological invasions and discuss the traits of good invaders.
The patterns of invasion and invasibility point to central aspects such as land
management,nitrogen pollution or climate change.A presentation of the eco-
logical impact of invasive species, based on striking case studies from major
ecosystems worldwide, also tackles the key question whether genetically
modified organisms may become invasive. This all includes relevant eco-
nomic and socio-economic facets. The closing chapters claim an enormous
current lack of preventive means,and demand more administrative and con-
trol measures as well as eradication programs.
This all leads to my second main point,of urgent need.We already live in a
global world,in which the globalizing process has started with full power only
a few decades ago.Still,the pace will increase considerably,and there will be
ever more people and goods moving from one point of the world to another.
This complete loss of biogeographical borders will lead to much more alien
species everywhere and an increasing number of these will become invasive.
Invasion biology,until recently known only to a few experts,is becoming ever