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Invasive species in China - an overview

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Biodiversity and Conservation 10: 1317–1341, 2001.
© 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Invasive species in China – an overview
XIE YAN1,, LI ZHENYU2, WILLIAM P. GREGG3and LI DIANMO1
1Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19 Zhongguancun Lu, Haidian, Beijing 100080,
China; 2Institute of Botany, Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Chinese Academy of
Sciences, 20 Nanxincun, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China; 3U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise
Valley Dr, MS300 Reston VA 20192 Washington DC USA; *Author for correspondence
(fax: (8610) 6264 7675; e-mail: xieyan@public3.bta.net.cn)
Received 6 June 2000; accepted in revised form 25 September 2000
Abstract. China is a vast country with rich biodiversity, which makes China especially vulnerable to
invasive species. It has a long history of introduction of non-native species, especially those with per-
ceived beneficial impacts. Its rapid economic development, including an explosive growth in international
trade and transportation, has increased the potential for new introductions. Currently, alien species are
widespread in the country, occur in many ecosystems, represent most major taxonomic groups, and are
introduced unintentionally as well as intentionally for cultivation. The paper lists various cases of invasive
species which have caused significant threats or damages to local natural or artificial ecosystems, and
indicates that two example industries (fresh water fisheries and lawn grasses) have brought or tend to
bring in many invasive species and hence have caused or will cause changes and loss of biodiversity in
local ecosystems. Based on these studies, it is suggested that China combat the problem through enhanc-
ing awareness, development of a database on invasive species, strengthening international co-operation,
preparing case studies and introducing the necessary legislation, regulations and monitoring.
Key words: China, fresh water fisheries, introduction, invasive species, lawn grasses
Introduction
China (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao are considered as a part of China) is the
world’s third largest country and one of the richest in terms of biodiversity. Its vast
territory stretches 5200 km from east to west. It spans 50 degrees of latitude, and
covers five climatic zones: cold-temperate, temperate, warm-temperate, subtropical,
and tropical (Wang Sung et al. 1997). A wide range of habitats and environmental
conditions makes China especially vulnerable to the establishment of invasive species
of foreign origin. Potential invasive alien species from most areas of the world may
find suitable habitat somewhere in China.
China has a long history of introduction of non-native species, especially species
proven to be productive elsewhere and offering potential economic benefits to Chi-
na. Early introductions were associated with immigration and trade among different
regions. In the 4th century B.C., ‘the Shu – Yuan du’ (‘Sichuan – India’) trade route,
including a network of local routes, linked Chengdu in Sichuan, via Tengchong in
Yunnan and the north of Burma, to India. Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), originally
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from Africa, was widely introduced and cultivated in the region and has naturalized
in the valley of Yuanjiang, Yunnan. During the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.) a
‘Silk Road’ connected the Weihe River in northwestern China, via countries in central
Asia, with eastern Turkey. In 126 B.C., Zhang Qian and his assistant – messengers
of Han Dynasty – brought back seeds of economic plants to China from central Asia,
including grapevine (Vitis vinifera), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), common pomegranate
(Punica granatum), and safflower (Carthamus tinctorius). All except grapevine have
escaped to the wild in western China. The Tang Dynasty (618–907 A.D.) was par-
ticularly involved with the importation of exotic goods from almost every nation of
Asia. Schafer (1963) summarizes and portrays the vast extent and breadth of these ex-
otic imports, in particular wildlife, plants, foods and medical drugs. During the Song
Dynasty (960–1279 A.D.) Quanzhou and Guangzhou became main ports connecting
China with southeast Asian countries. Barbados aloe (Aloe barbadensis or A. vera
var. chinensis), originally from northeast Africa, was first recorded as an imported
medicine in the book of Bencao Shiyi (A Supplement to Medicinal Herbs) written
by Chen Cangqi in 739 A.D. The plant was described as a free-living population
between during 969 and 975 A.D. and has become widely naturalized in the coastal
region in south China. In 1645, western Europeans arriving in India and southeast
Asia by the ‘Gama Sea Route’ introduced species newly collected from America.
Chinese living in the region subsequently brought back many of these species to
China, including economic plants such as sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), tobacco
(Nicotiana tabacum) and blue passionflower (Passiflora coerulea). They also unin-
tentionally introduced invasive weeds such as Spanish needles (Bidens bipinnata).
During the Dutch occupation of Taiwan (1624–1662), some American species, such
as horse tamarind (Leucaena leucocephala), popinac (Acacia farnsiana), and queen-
of-the-night (Hylocereus undatus) and others, were introduced into Taiwan and have
naturalized locally. After the Opium War in 1842, the ports of Hong Kong, Guangz-
hou, Xiamen, Shanghai, Qingdao, Yantai and Dalian became major pathways for the
introduction of exotic weeds to China. For example, flax-leaf fleabane (Conyza bo-
nariensis) was first reported in Hong Kong in 1857, horse-weed (Conyza canadensis)
in Yantai, Shangdong, in 1862, and daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus) in Shanghai in
1886. These species subsequently became invasive in wild lands. Other plants were
introduced through a growing variety of pathways. For example, gorse (Ulex europa-
eus) from Europe was introduced by a French missionary to a church in Chengkou,
Sichuan, and then escaped to the wild (Wei Zhi and Wei Siqi 1998).
China’s rapid economic development in the 20th century, including explosive
growth in trade and transportation systems, is increasing the pathways for the in-
troduction and spread of invasive species among regions within China and the intro-
duction of new invasive species to China from other countries. Since many invasive
species have long lag times from initial establishment until the appearance of a full-
blown invasion, the full effects of the invaders arriving in China may not be felt until
well into the 21st century. In the United States, the globalization of travel and trade
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has facilitated introductions of invasive species from the early days of the Industrial
Revolution in the 19th century. Many species first introduced decades ago have only
recently begun to spread rapidly in ecosystems. There has been an upward trend in
the establishment of non-indigenous species, and large numbers of invasive species
have been documented (Randall and Marinelli 1996; Vitousek et al. 1997; Nico and
Fuller 1999). In view of the ecogeographic similarities between the United States and
China, the US situation may be a bellwether of future trends in China as China’s
world trade and domestic development continue to expand.
For many years, government departments of agriculture, forestry, and animal
husbandry, as well as customs authorities in China, have paid great attention to
the potential harm of a small number of alien species, leading to the quarantine
of alien diseases and pests. However, it was only a few years ago that the concept
of invasive species was introduced into China and the potential threats to China’s
natural heritage are not yet widely recognized. This contrasts with the situation in
a number of growing countries where invasive species have become an important
environmental issue. There are already many studies and publications, mostly from
developed countries, on alien mammals, plants, weeds, fishes, molluscs, crustaceans,
herpetofauna and wildlife diseases, including general discussions of pathways, vec-
tors, the role of natural and human-caused disturbances (physical, chemical, climat-
ic, etc.), and the economic and environmental impacts of invasions (Westbrooks
1998; Sandlund et al. 1999). The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has also estab-
lished the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) to address problems of invasive
species. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which China and 177
other countries are Party, calls on governments to ‘prevent the introduction of, con-
trol or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species’
(Article 8h). However in China, except for the attention given those species that
have created great economic loss or have been listed as quarantine species by the
Bureau of Animal and Plant Quarantine, little research has been conducted on inva-
sive alien species and their impacts on natural ecosystems. There are no complete
statistics or materials describing the status of alien species in China and their po-
tential to create harm, and control measures directed at alien species are not well
documented. This report, therefore, provides only a preliminary review of invasive
species in the country. In our review of scientific literature and other documentation
(Li Yanghan 1998), we have identified 380 species of vascular plants, belonging to
62 families and 210 genera, that have become invasive in China. The list includes
species in natural ecosystems, agricultural lands, and other intensively managed
areas. Descriptions are available in published literature cited for most of the species
mentioned in the report.
In this report, we use the following criteria to define an invasive alien species
that is: (1) has been introduced from its natural range into an area where it is not
native by either intentional or unintentional human activity; (2) has established a
self-reproducing population in a local natural or artificial ecosystem; and (3) has
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caused obvious changes in a natural ecosystem or landscape, or has caused damages
to a local natural or artificial ecosystem. This meets the implied definition of alien
invasive species contained in the CBD. We also consider alien species in China
to include species introduced outside their native ranges within China as well as
non-native species introduced from other countries.
Alien species occur in each of China’s 34 provinces, municipalities and autono-
mous regions. They occur widely in both urban and rural landscapes, and in protected
areas. Alien plants have been reported everywhere, except in a few remote reserves in
the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, Hengduan Mountain, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. Alien
species occur in almost every watershed and ecosystem, including forests, wetlands,
grasslands, and croplands. They represent many taxonomic groups, including mam-
mals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes; arthropods and crustaceans; algae, ferns and
seed plants; and fungi, viruses, bacteria, and other micro-organisms.
Unintentional introductions
Most documented alien species in China have been introduced unintentionally. As
travel and trade have increased, travellers and transported goods have provided path-
ways for introducing more and more species as hitch-hikers on clothing and vehicles;
in containers, packaging materials, shipping waste, and ships ballast; and as con-
taminants in shipments of agricultural seeds and other biological materials. Some
of the most invasive, damaging and widespread unintentional introductions include
the banana moth (Opogona sacchari), fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea), brown rat
(Rattus norvegicus), ragweed (Ambrosia spp.), amaranth (Amaranthus spp.), gold-
enrod (Solidago spp.), crofton weed (Eupatorium adenophorum), and spinyflower
alternanthera (Alternanthera pungens).
China’s rapidly increasing trade is accelerating the introduction of alien species.
According to government quarantine statistics, during the eighth five-year plan (1990–
1995), 65 million tons of food were imported, mainly from the USA, Canada, Aus-
tralia, the European Union, and Argentina. Also, cross border food trade has greatly
expanded with Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Nepal. Because of the large num-
ber of trading partners and modes of transportation, the probability of bringing in
alien species is high. From 1986 to 1990, nearly 200 species of weed seeds from
30 families and 100 genera were intercepted from 349 ships at the port in Shanghai.
It is estimated that a 30,000 ton ship can bring 120 tons of weed seeds which, if
widely disseminated, might cause great damage (Yin Lianping 1998). According to
statistics of Li Yanghan (1998), weed seeds of 547 species and 5 varieties, belonging
to 49 families, had been intercepted in 12 ports including Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai,
Zhangjiagang, Nanjing, and Guangzhou. They were brought in from 30 countries and
are considered as contaminants in imported food, forage, cotton, wool, grass-sward
and other economic plant seeds. About 170 of these alien weeds are invading new
areas, including wild lands.
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Intentional introductions
Institutions often have introduced species from other countries and from one region
of China to another for economic development, recreation uses, or environmental
improvements such as erosion control, landscaping, highway beautification, and cre-
ation of wildlife habitat. Many of these species have been introduced by institutions
involved in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, horticulture, and aquaculture, and
species specific centers for farming and breeding. Many of these species are main-
stays of China’s economy.
The number of intentionally introduced species in China has increased rapidly
in recent years. For example, except for Zoysia materlla, all lawn grass seed is im-
ported, with 2000 tons imported in 1997 alone (Xu Xiaogang et al. 1999). In 1990
and 1991, China imported more than 40 species from Taiwan as breeding materials
for developing food, oil, melon, fruit and vegetable production (Ye Qixian and Hua
Li 1997). There have been numerous introductions for aquaculture and specialized
farming. These include the freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), red claw
(Cherax quadricianalus), salmon (Oncorhynchus mykiss), tilapia (Tilapia sp.), Euro-
pean eel (Anguilla anguilla), paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), colossoma (Colossoma
brachypomum), striped bass (Morone saxatilis), large-mouth bass (Micropterus sal-
moides) and white bass (Morone chrysops) (Qiu Liming and Deng Guosheng 1994;
Liao Guozhang 1998). No reports on the impact of many of these species in local
aquatic ecosystems are available.
China at risk
A growing number of invasive alien species are causing significant economic and
environmental impacts in China. These species include microbial pathogens, nema-
todes, insects, crustaceans, molluscs, fish, birds, mammals, and vascular plants. Ap-
pendix 1 provides examples of invasive species from these major taxonomic groups
that are causing particularly significant impacts. The examples include available in-
formation on country of origin, the year of introduction, the purpose of introduction,
means of spread, area of spread and the damage caused.
Unintentional introductions
Unintentionally introduced diseases and pests have caused great economic loss in
many sectors, such as agriculture, husbandry, forestry and horticulture. These loss-
es have drawn the attention of government agencies responsible for customs and
quarantine. Particularly serious species in agriculture include black spot of sweet
potato (Ceratocystis fimbriata), fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea), vegetable leaf
miner (Liriomyza sarivae), and ragweed (Ambrosia spp.); in animal husbandry,
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crofton weed (Eupatorium adenophorum); in forestry, fall webworm and alligator
weed (Alternanthera pungens); and in horticulture, banana moth (Opogona sac-
chari).
Intentional introductions
A small percentage of intentionally introduced species have escaped cultivation and
become invasive. These species can cause economic or environmental harm that can
offset the benefits from their cultivation.
The four popular fish farming species, black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus),
silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), bighead (Aristichthys nobilis), and grass
carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), were widely distributed and bred in most rivers
and lakes in China. They have been also introduced from their native ranges to other
regions of China, and bighead and silver carp have been reported to cause serious
disruption. Other intentional vertebrate introductions include nutria (Myocastor coy-
pus) from South America to support the fur trade. Several introduced vascular plants
also cause significant disruption, including water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
and alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) (both originating in South Ameri-
ca), and common cordgrass (Spartina anglica) from western Europe. These species
were variously introduced for ornamental use, forage, improving water quality, soil
improvement, and erosion control. All are highly invasive and outcompete native
species.
Recently, some introduced water plants have escaped from aquaria. These in-
clude Washington grass or fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana), imported from the United
States, which now occurs in rivers in Zhejiang Province (Ding Bingyang 2000); and
Parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), from South America, which is natural-
ized in Taiwan (Li Zhenyu and Hsieh Changfu 1996). Although neither species is
known to produce seed in its introduced range in China, both could quickly expand
their range by asexual reproduction.
The special case of alien species in fresh water fisheries
Invasive species have changed local ecosystems by modifying species composition,
population structure, and food chains. Watersheds in Yunnan Province are a good
example (Chen Yingrui et al. 1998). Yunnan is one of the richest provinces in China
in terms of biodiversity. The province has 432 documented fresh water fish species,
or 42.2% of total number in China. The six river systems each has its special fish
fauna. These river systems have only 3–10 species in common. Extreme isolation
has facilitated evolution of many endemic fish populations in more than 10 lakes
associated with these river ecosystems. Fish species composition is quite different not
only between lakes in different river systems, but also between different lakes in the
same river system. For example, Xingyun Lake and Fuxian Lake, located in the same
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river system and only separated by one river, have only 11 species in common, while
Fuxian Lake has 25 fish species and Xingyun Lake 14. One third of Yunnan’s432 fish
species are either threatened or extinct due to the cumulative effects of over fishing,
dam construction, water pollution, vegetation destruction, and land reclamation from
lakes. In recent years, the spread of invasive alien species has been correlated with
local extinctions and population reductions of the remaining native fish. For example,
by the early 1970s, more than 30 alien fish species had been introduced into Yunnan’s
Dianchi Lake. Correspondingly, the number of indigenous species declined from 25
in the 1940s, to 15 in 1978 and 8 in 1982. According to a 1997 study, although several
widely distributed native species such as the weatherfish (Misgurnus anguillicauda-
tus), Asian swamp eel (Monopterus albus), and crucian carp (Carassius auratus) still
occur in the lake, only two endemic local species, Yunnanilus plenrotaenia (a kind
of river loach, Balitoridae) and Sinocyclocheilus grahami grahami (a kind of barb),
remain, and in small numbers in a greatly reduced range.
Significant economic damagehas been caused by the introduction of alien species
in freshwater fisheries. However, this damage and changes to local ecosystems have
not drawn the attention of the public. Although there have been many comprehen-
sive scientific surveys on fish conducted in large natural watersheds including lakes,
rivers, and estuaries, fishery research has focused only on the biology and status of
economically important fish. Very little research has been conducted on the impact of
alien species (including species introduced for aquaculture) on species populations,
biological diversity, and trophic interactions in fresh water aquatic ecosystems (Liao
Guozhang 1998).
Effects on lake ecosystems associated with fishery management can be divided
into three periods. Prior to the 1950s, the focus was primarily on managing a natural
fishery – a strategy which in the present day applies only to some middle-to-large-
sized lakes, such as Dongting Lake in Hunan and Poyang Lake in Jiangxi. Since
the 1950s, emphasis shifted toward the cultivation and release of popular species,
such as silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), bighead (Aristichthys nobilis), and
grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in small-to-middle-sized lakes. In these cases,
algae replace aquatic macrophytes as the main primary producers, and the natural
biological productivity of the lakes is fully consumed by grazing herbivores which
outcompete native species. The aquaculture production in such systems generally
exceeds the productivity of the natural fishery. These are the so-called ‘algae type’
lakes. Beginning in the 1980s, more attention was given to protecting and restoring
native fisheries, while at the same time exploiting water resources and developing
aquaculture. In such management systems, fish raised in aquaculture are kept within
fish fences to allow aquatic macrophytes to grow. These are the so-called ‘grass type’
lakes (Zhang Guohua et al. 1997).
Donghu Lake in Wuhan, Hunan Province, is a good case study. In order to provide
more forage for bighead and silver carp, and make their harvesteasier, herbivorous fish-
es were carefully released. Due to a lack of aquatic macrophytes, the abundance of
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zooplankton was greatly reduced. Algae increased dramatically. pH values became
higher and the number of acid-favoring species was reduced. The biodiversity dropped,
the number and quantity of large zooplankton was reduced, and small-sized forms de-
veloped. According to investigations before 1972, there were 67 fish species in Donghu
Lake, of which nearly 20 had economic value, such as commoncarp (Cyprinus carpio),
crucian carp (Carassius auratus), yellowcheek carp (Elopichthys bambusa), Ocheto-
bius elongatus (Cyprinidae), bighead, silver carp, grass carp, black carp (Mylopharyn-
godon piceus), white bream (Parabramis pekinensis), redfin culter (Culter
erythropterus), Xenocypris (Cyprinidae) and others. After aquaculture, the rate of
growth of cultivated species increased until the growth rates for bighead and silver
carp stabilized at around 98% of the total fish productivity. The structure of the fish
community in Donghu Lake was changed completely (Zhang Guohua et al. 1997).
This kind of aquaculture system, first developed in eastern lakes, has been
introduced into lakes in other parts of China, such as Keluke Lake, Dalian Lake,
Genggahai Lake and Alarhai Lake in the Qinghai–Tibet area; Daihai Lake in the
Mongolian-Uygur area; Qilu Lake, Dianchi Lake, Erhai Lake, Xingyun Lake and
Lugu Lake in the Yunnan-Guizhou area. The introduced species compete with
indigenous species for food and habitat resources, leading to greatly reduced
numbers of local species, such as barbless carp (Cyprinus pellegrini) in Qilu Lake and
Xingyun Lake, and even the local extinction of some species such as schizothoracins
(Schizothorax) in Lugu Lake and Erhai Lake (Zhang Guohua et al. 1997).
Many alien fish species, such as European eel, large-mouth bass, paddlefish,
colossoma, striped bass and white bass, have been introduced to south China and
cultivated over a wide area. We do not yet know what impact such introduced
carnivores, especially those like large-mouth bass, striped bass and white bass, that
feed on small-sized fishes, have had on local fish populations in natural watersheds.
Lawn grasses – an emerging problem?
There is no evidence that introduced lawn grass species have invaded natural ecosys-
tems in China. However, grasses are among the most easily spread of alien species. The
risks to natural ecosystems are thus a matter of concern because the turf grass industry
is developing rapidly in China. Large areas of lawn are being planted for golf courses,
soccer fields, parks, and other purposes. The growing demand for turf grass seed has
stimulated the development of a major industry focused on introductionand breeding
of varieties from other countries. Except for Zoysia materlla, seeds of all other spe-
cies of turf grasses are imported– more than 2000tons in 1997.By 1990, 114different
kinds of cold-season grass seeds had been introducedfrom the United States. This has
occurred in spite of the fact that China’s diverse biogeographic regions provide abun-
dant germplasm resources for native grasses. Through a research program spanning
nearly 20 years, the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences (CAAS) has collected
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and preserved more than 1000 grass species suitable for use in lawns. Recent inves-
tigations on wild grass germplasm resources have demonstrated positive results. For
example, more than 20 warm-season lawn grasses are widely used in the world. Ex-
cept for a few species (e.g., Paspalum notatum and Buchloe dactyloides)manyarenat-
urally distributed in China. Many of the 136 widely used cold-season lawn grasses can
be found in the northern and southwestern parts of China (Xu Xiaogang et al. 1999).
However, China ignores the rich resource of native grass species, large numbers of
grass seeds have been and still being introduced into cities from other countries, and
their potential effects of these species on surrounding ecosystems are unknown. To
date, there seems to be little concern about the potential harm that could result from
the spread of some of these species into natural ecosystems.
Biological control agents
A number of species have been intentionally introduced into China for biological con-
trol of diseases, weeds and insect pests. In the early 1900s, Taiwan introduced vedalia
beetle (Rodolia cardinalis) from California and Hawaii to control cottony cushion
scale (Icerya purchasi). This is the first record of the successful introduction of a
natural enemy in China. The number of successful introductions has increased since
the 1950s. These include a monophagous parasitoid (Aphelinus mali – Hymenoptera:
Aphelinidae) to control woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), and Australian
ladybird (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) to control mealy bugs (Pseudococcus spp.).
Between 1979 and 1985, 182 biological control agents were introduced, excluding
those in Taiwan and by the Ministry of Forestry. Several have been highly suc-
cessful, including a parasitic wasp (Encarsia formosa) to control the greenhouse
whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum), western predatory mite (Metaseiulus occiden-
talis) and phytoseiid mites (Phytoseiulus persimilis). Additional progress was made
in the introduction of some other species such as Zygogramma suturalis (Coleop-
tera: Chrysomelidae) to control ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) and water hyacinth weevil
(Neochetina spp.) to control water hyacinth. Between 1986 and 1995, there were 101
introductions (excluding Taiwan). Among these was the successful introduction of
a parasitic wasp (Coccobius azumai) from Japan to Guangdong in 1989 to control
pine scale (Pan Wuyao et al. 1993). According to statistics of the Guangdong Forest
Bureau, the use of biological control technology has saved about US$ 5,000,000 each
year in controlling pine scale (Lu Qingguang 1997a,b). Although China’s experience
with biological control has been positive, various countries have documented cases
in which introduced biological control agents have themselves become nuisance spe-
cies. For example, weevils introduced into the United States to control a Eurasian
thistle are now threatening indigenous North American thistles (Simberloff 1997).
These cases remind us that assessments of the potential harmfulness of these species
to non-target species prior to release and careful monitoring of the impacts in local
ecosystems following release are essential.
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Public awareness and education – a critical need
In China, the general public is not aware of the harm now beingcaused by alien species
and their potential future risks to local ecosystems and China’s rich biological heritage.
Currently no Chinese publications or guidelines on invasive species are available in
China. The need for education extends to many sectors of Chinese society from policy
makers, resource managers and researchers to workers,farmers, and the general public.
People are aware that diseases and pests cause economic loss, but have not re-
alized that alien species are damaging ecosystems and outcompeting native species.
Alien species that cause these impacts but do not directly reduce economic produc-
tion have received little attention. There is a general lack of understanding of the
impacts of invasive species on ecosystem functions. For example, farm-raised nutrias
and confiscated live wildlife in cross-border trade are released into local ecosystems
without regard to their potential effects on these ecosystems. The banana moth is a
significant pest of fragrant dracaena (Dracena fragrans), an important ornamental
species in China. A 1997 survey found that severely infested fragrans dracaena plants
were discarded in a corner of a flower nursery. Pest densities of 100 per square meter
were reported. Known host plants for the banana moth include more than 50 species
from 24 families, including many crops such as banana, sugarcane, corn, sweet potato
and ornamental plants. Thus, the damage could be serious if the sale and improper
disposal of the infested stock enabled the pest to spread from nursery stock to crops
and natural ecosystems (Chen Guifang et al. 1998).
The primary purpose of introductions is to increase economic returns, and
assessments of the potential dangers to local ecosystems, native species, and eco-
nomic uses of resources have rarely been made before species are introduced. Such
impacts are also rarely considered in natural resource management. For example,
some nature reserves are planning to begin reforestation using alien species, such as
the proposed use of species of Rhizophora from Bangladesh to reforest mangroves in
the Dongzaigang Nature Reserve (MacKinnon, pers. comm.). There is also a serious
lack of research and long-term monitoring on these kinds of impacts to help support
scientifically based assessments.
A balanced approach to the threats requires awareness of how different people
benefit and are harmed by invasive species. Many invasive species – for example,
some commercially important fish and ornamental plants – have strong constituencies
who favor these species over native species.
Action now
The alien invasive species issue should be put on China’s national agenda immedi-
ately. Action must be taken now. Inaction will result in substantial economic loss and
damage to China’s endemic ecosystems and rich biological heritage. Here are some
suggestions for action.
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Compile educational materials
Collect and compile materials, including concepts, dangers, impacts, prevention and
control techniques, management experiences (both successes and failures) and case
studies relating to invasive species. Booklets, posters, exhibits, and other materials
should be attractively designed for the general public with copious illustrations and
photos. Information should be distributed through the mails, the Internet, bookstores,
and various media, such as newspapers, radio, and television.
Develop databases and information systems on invasive species
Collect available publications and data on known and potential invasive species, in-
cluding taxonomy, native and introduced ranges, biology, physiology, and impacts;
pathways for introduction and spread; prevention and control methods and other
information. Enter the information into databases, develop related data documenta-
tion standards and search tools, and make information accessible through web sites,
CD-ROMs or other suitable channels to meet the needs of potential users.
Strengthen international co-operation
It is particularly important to strengthen international communication and co-oper-
ation in sharing, linking and integrating invasive species databases and information
systems, and in conducting research to support effective prevention and control strat-
egies. International cooperation is extremely important for several reasons:
Countries seeking to address threats from a particular invasive species need infor-
mation on the taxonomy, ecology, natural enemies, and management of the species
from countries where the species is native. The successful introduction of a parasitic
wasp (Coccobius azumai) from Japan, the country of origin for pine scale, to control
the spread of this pest in China, is a good example of the value of looking for a natural
enemy within the invaders native range (Chen Yongge and Gu Dexiang 1998).
Knowledge gained on an invasive species and its control in one country can be
valuable to other countries in making decisions on prevention and control of the same
species. For example, information on water hyacinth invasions in North America,
Asia, Australia and Africa can provide important insights for developing strategies
for prevention and control of the same species in China. In another example, Taiwan
introduced vedalia beetle (Rodolia cardinalis) from California and Hawaii to control
cottony cushion scale (Icerya purchasi) early in this century(Lu Qingguang 1997a,b).
The success of this introduction was partly due to lessons learned from introducing
the same species in the United States.
Just as China has suffered from invasive species introduced from countries where
they are native, so are many countries plagued by invaders that are native to China.
For instance, grass carp, a widely distributed and raised native species in China,
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has been reported from 45 states in the United States where the species competes
with for food with invertebrates (e.g., crayfish) and other fishes, causes significant
changes in macrophyte, phytoplankton and invertebrate communities, interferes with
the reproduction of other fishes, decreases available refugia for other fishes, and so on
(Nico and Fuller 1999). Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum), first introduced into
the US in 1776, has become an aggressive invader which is decreasing native plant
diversity along the Gulf or Mexico and Atlantic Coasts from Texas to North Carolina
(Randall and Marinelli 1996). A more recent example is the Asian longhorned beetle
(Anoplophora glabripennis), native to China, which has killed hardwood trees in
local infestations in the United States. The beetle attacks many hardwoods, including
Norway, sugar, silver, and red maple; horsechestnut; poplar; willow; elm; mulberry;
and black locust. The insects bore into the trunk of the tree and lay their eggs inside.
Because the insects spend all but the summer months inside the tree, it is virtually
impossible to eradicate them with insecticides. Research has not yet produced a trap
specific to this pest. Presently, the only effective treatment for eliminating the Asian
longhorned beetle once it invades an area is to destroy all infested trees. Suppressing
a 1996 infestation in New York City and Amityville, New York, neighborhoods cost
the State and Federal Governments more than $ 4 million. To date, the Asian long-
horned beetle has been found at 26 scattered warehouse and residential sites in 14
States around the country. The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services pest
risk analysis has determined that the species is hitchhiking into the United States in
solid wood packing materials, such as pallets and crates, from China. (PPQ 1998).
Many more cases could be listed.
Because China and other countries have similar environments, they often share
concerns about alien species that are potentially invasive in these environments. In
the USA, cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is particularly invasive in native grasslands
and prairies, especially in the northwest – habitats that are becoming increasingly
rare. Cornflower is a close relative of the knapweed and starthistle, which are seri-
ous pests in crop lands and range lands as well as natural areas. Once established
cornflower produces abundant viable seed, and populations increase quickly. Many
grassland preserves are heavily infested with this attractive nuisance species (Randall
and Marinelli 1996). In China, although there is no report of its dangers, beautiful
flowers can be seen in large numbers in flower markets and nurseries in many cities in
China. Nobody knows if the species has escaped to the wild, established free-living
populations or caused damage. However, information from other countries should
encourage us to study and monitor this species.
Conduct case study
It will be necessary to study the status and impacts of invasive species (especial-
ly intentionally introduced species) in several regions, in order to understand their
status in China. These studies will improve public awareness of the impact of alien
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species to the national economy and ecosystems. They should also draw attention to
the importance of preventing and controlling the introduction and spread of invasive
species by providing managers, farmers, other stakeholders and the general public
with concrete examples and scientific analyses.
First, take a middle-to-large-sized city and its surrounding area as a case study.
Make an inventory of alien trees, shrubs, weeds, and herbaceous species; investi-
gate surrounding natural ecosystems to document alien species that have invaded
natural communities; conduct studies to understand and predict their impact on popu-
lations of native species, species composition, and ecological relationships, and select
species for long-term monitoring.
In addition, select a middle-to-large-sized watershed as a case study, and study
the effects of alien species effects on local species composition, population struc-
ture, quantities and food chains in the watershed. Integrate invasive species into a
long-term monitoring program for documenting changes in the ecology and species
structure of the watershed. Develop recommendations on strategies for reducing the
effects of invasive species and other ecosystem stressors.
Introduce legislation
China already has one law and various regulations regarding quarantine. The Peo-
ple’s Republic of China (PRC) Animal and Plant Quarantine Law took effect in 1992
and the related Implementing Regulations for this law took effect in 1997. The PRC
Domestic Animals Epidemic Prevention Regulation and PRC Plant Quarantine Reg-
ulations were issued in 1983 and revised in 1992. Associated with these regulations
are lists of epidemic and parasitic diseases of animals imported from other countries
into the PRC, a list of animals, animal products and other quarantine goods which
are forbidden to be carried or mailed into the PRC, a species list of dangerous dis-
eases, insects and weeds; a named list of prohibited goods for importation was issued
by Ministry of Agriculture in 1993 (Yu Dahai and Cui Yanlin 1997; Liu Yuanzhi
et al. 1998). However, all these laws and regulations are for quarantine of diseases,
pests and weeds. Laws or regulations do not presently exist to prevent damage to
local ecosystems and native species from invasive species. Such laws are needed and
should be promoted. For example, a possible approach would be to prohibit large-
scale use of non-indigenous species until small-scale trials of several generations
show no signs of threats to local ecosystems. Legislation is also needed to restrict
use of alien species in protected areas, and to encourage the use of domestic species
in reforestation programmes.
Acknowledgements
The study has been supported by Biodiversity Working Group of the China Council
for International Co-operation on Environment and Development (BWG/CCICED)
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and the National Science Foundation of China (No. 39630030, 39870056). Many
experts have made great contributions to the report. Dr Andrew Smith kindly edited
the main report. Dr John Fellowes provided information in Hong Kong; Dr Pam
Fuller, Dr Jacoby Carter and Dr Phillip Thomas provided information from the USA;
Dr John MacKinnon provided information on birds and Prof Chen Deniu provided
information on molluscs. Drs Wang Sung, John MacKinnon, Peter Schei and Jacoby
Carter made excellent comments on the paper. Their contributions are gratefully
acknowledged.
Appendix I. Cases of invasive species in china
Mammals
Nutria (Myocastor coypus)
Nutria is an herbivorous rodent native to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. It was first introduced from the
former USSR to the Northeast China Zoo for display. Since 1986, nutria have been bred and raised in
large numbers in many areas, especially in southern China, because of its heavy, soft, fine fur. However,
a market for nutria failed to develop. Factors included the high cost of young animals, poor fur quality,
and unpalatable meat. By the mid-1990s, nutria farming was largely abandoned. Without management
and control, nutrias were released or escaped. Many subsequently established wild populations, which are
causing increasing damage to fruit trees and crops. The species is now regarded as a locally significant
pest in orchards and crop lands (Xu Ruiqiu et al. 1997).
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
Muskrat was introduced to the former USSR from North America in 1927. By the 1950s, it was being wide-
ly raised in more than 500 farms. Muskrats escaped in Xinjiang from these farms due to poor management
and their populations expanded quickly along the Ili River, Takes River and Erjisi River into China. In 1955
and 1957, populations were reported from Huma and Xingkai Lake in Heilongjiang Province. Muskrats
make holes in banks and damage water supply and irrigation works, causing significant economic losses in
arid areas. Since 1958, muskrat has been introduced to North China, Inner Mongolia, Guizhou and other
provinces for the fur trade (Shou Zhenhuang 1962; Cheng Dasheng 1986).
Brown or Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) and Sladen’s rat (Rattus tanezumi)
Unlike muskrat from North America and red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris esalbidus), which were artificially
released from the former USSR around the early 1950s, brown rat and Sladens rat were brought into
Xinjiang Autonomous Region from central China as hitchhikers through the railways. The first brown
rat was caught in Xinjiang in 1975, and wild populations are now well established in Turpan prefecture
and Urumiqi City in Xinjiang. Brown rat populations are expanding north and south in Xinjiang along
railways, as well as to areas of agriculture and animal husbandry along roads. Survey data indicate a
stable population structure, with breeding ages becoming a little earlier and body size getting larger. In
the croplands of Miquan county, the brown rat is outcompeting other species of rats and becoming the
predominant species (Zhang Daming et al. 1993).
Birds
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea)
Native to Indonesia, the species has been a significant pest in Hong Kong for many years where it destroys
ornamental trees (J. MacKinnon, pers. comm.; Reels 1998).
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Rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)
This parrot was first introduced from eastern Indonesia to Australia and later to Hong Kong where it is now
quite common. The species damages ornamental trees and raids fruit groves. (J. MacKinnon, pers. comm.;
Reels 1998).
Canada goose (Anser canadensis)
This large goose, native to North America, is spreading in Hebei where it is frequently reported in crop-
lands, especially potato fields (J. MacKinnon, pers. comm.).
Fishes
Bighead (Aristichthys nobilis)
Bighead is one of the most popular farming fish in China and is widely distributed throughout China.
However, in the northeast and the west of China, it was brought in artificially (Chen Yiyu et al. 1998).
Bigheads large mouth and long and dense gill raker make it a highly effective filter-feeder, which out-
competes native species. For example, in 1958, the total fish population of Qilu Lake, Yunnan Province,
consisted of about 50% barbless carp (Cyprinus pellegrini). Barbless carp feeds on planktonic animals.
With a smaller mouth and a short, low-density gill raker, the species competes poorly with the bighead,
which utilizes similar food resources. Following introduction of the bighead, barbless carp populations
have declined significantly in Qilu Lake, as well as in Xingyun Lake, Yunnan Province, where measures
to augment populations of barbless carp were initiated in 1988. Hatchery-reared barbless carp are raised in
Huanggu Reservoir, and 150,000–200,000 fries are released to Xingyun Lake every year (Zhang Guohua
et al. 1997; Chen Yingrui et al. 1998).
Gobies (Gobiidae) and Topmouth Gudgeon (Pseudorasbora parva)
Several species were brought unintentionally to lakes in the Yunnan-Guizhou area, including Erhai Lake,
from the southern and southeastern parts of China, along with the introduction of four principal fish-farm-
ing species in the 1950s and 1960s. With very few carnivorous fish in the lakes, populations of these small
fish expanded rapidly and soon became the predominant species. They not only outcompeted indigenous
species for food and habitat, but also ate their eggs, which further reduced native populations and even
eliminated some of them. For example, three native species of Schizothoracin (Schizothorax) developed
from a common ancestor in Lugu Lake. All are believed to have become extinct due to egg predation
from introduced small-sized fishes, such as topmouth gudgeon, and disturbance of their breeding area by
introduced carp (Chen Yingrui et al. 1998).
Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) and Livebearers (Poeciliidae)
Mosquitofish is originally from the United States and northern Mexico. It was introduced into Taiwan in
1911 and from there to mainland China in 1924 to annihilate mosquitoes, and subsequently bred naturally
in many provinces. In Hong Kong, circumstantial evidence suggests that introduced mosquitofish and
several livebearers have reduced native fish populations by preying on small fishes and by harassing and
nipping the fins of larger ones. Some minnows, such as the endemic Aphyocypris lini, may have been
eliminated through competition or predation. The once widely distributed native medaka (Oryzias latipes),
is now found only in the remaining habitats not yet colonized by livebearers. It is also possible that the
endemic Romers frog (Philautus romeri) may have been eliminated from some areas by mosquito fish
predation on the small tadpoles (Dudgeon and Corlett 1994).
Crustaceans
Crayfish (Procambius clarkii)
Crayfish is native to the southern USA and northern Mexico. The species is widely farmed in the Americas,
Asia and Africa. Crayfish was introduced into China from Japan in the early 1940s. It was first bred in Nanj-
ing in Jiangsu and Chuxian in Anhui, and then spread to north, central and south China where it has
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developed vast populations in the wild. Unlike most aquaculture species, the female crayfish incubates her
eggs, conveniently avoiding the need for, and cost of hatcheries. Once a pond has been stocked, crayfish usu-
ally establish self-maintaining populations. Restocking is normally not required except following outbreaks
of disease. Crayfish are frequently raised in combination with crops, especially rice; where they feed on crop
residues and the associated food web. Crayfish which escape the harvest survive by burrowing into levees or
pond banks, providing the brood stock for the next season (Yao Gendi et al. 1995; Zheng Shengshun 1999).
Molluscs
Amazonian snail (Ampullaria gigas)
Originally from the Amazonian Basin, the Amazonian snail was introduced into Guangdong in 1981 by a
Brazilian Chinese, and has been widely raised for food in the province since 1984. However, overproduc-
tion and the failure of a robust culinary market to develop have been factors in the releases of the species
to the wild. The Amazonian snail is a voracious feeder, with high reproductive potential, which has adapt-
ed readily to many local environments. It spreads quickly and damages rice, vegetable and water crops.
Since 1988, the species has caused significant economic losses in more than 37 counties encompassing
25,000 hm2in Guangdong Province. The Amazonian snail was introduced from Guandong to Jinjiang in
Fujian province in 1985, escaped to wild, and was causing significant economic damage by 1992. Invasions
have also been reported from Xishuanbanna in Yunnan province (Liu Zhongli 1989; Cai Hanxiong et al.
1990; Zhao Guoshan et al. 1996).
Giant African snail (Achatina fulica)
Originally from East Africa, the giant African snail was first reported in China by Henkots in 1931 on the
campus of Xiamen University in Fujian as a hitch-hiker on plants brought from Singapore by a Singaporean
Chinese. The species has subsequently spread to Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi and Yunnan Provinces,
where, in many areas, it has become the main molluscan pest of crops and local ecosystems. Because of
its value as a delicious food, the giant African snail was also intentionally introduced in these and other
provinces, including Hong Kong and Macao in 1932 and Taiwan in 1933. In Yunnan, the species was also
introduced from Viet Nam and Hainan for cultivation (Zhou Weichuan et al. 1989; Chen Deniu et al. 1990;
Chen Deniu 1991).
Insects
Termites (Termitidae)
Termites are insect pests that feed on wood and fiber. They are widespread and cause significant economic
damage in many countries. In the 1980s, Zhang Yingjun conducted extensive surveys and compiled avail-
able documentation from the literature on the introduction and spread of termites in China. These publica-
tions document the introductions of Incisitermes, Taiwan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus),
rubber termite (Coptotermes curvignathus), Ahmaditermes, Nasutitermes and others from shipments of
wood and wood products into Nanjing in Jiangsu Province; Xianyang in Shanxi; Qingdao in Shandong;
Wuhan in Hubei; Yantai and Penglai in Shandong; in Beijing; Xi’an in Shanxi; Jiang’an in Sichuan and
Ninghai in Zhejiang. Various species have caused serious damage in some regions. For example, since
western drywood termite (Incisitermes minor) was first introduced in Ninghai, Zhejiang from the USA in
1937, it has established breeding populations which have caused serious damage to structures in this region.
Control programs, initiated in 1975, have prevented further spread. In 1993, the Ministry of Agriculture
included the rubber termite in its Species List of Dangerous Diseases, Insects and Weeds and Name List
of Goods Forbidden to Import (Liu Yuanzhi et al. 1998).
Pine scale (Hemiberlesia pitysophila)
Pine scale (Cocoidea, Diaspididae) is native to Japan and Taiwan. It was first reported in Huidong County
and Bao’an County in Guangdong Province in the late 70s, where it destroyed masson pine forests. It
spread rapidly, infesting 110,000 hm2in 1983, 310,000 hm2in 1986, and 400,000 hm2in 1987. By the
end of 1990, pine scale infested an area of 718,000 hm2which included more than 130,000 hm2of dead
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masson pines. In 1989, Guangdong successfully introduced Coccobius azumai, a parasite of pine scale
from Japan as a biological control agent. According to the Guangdong Forest Bureau, use of the biological
control agent has saved US$ 6,000,000 annually due to the control of pine scale infestations (Xiao Gangrou
1992; Lu Qingguan 1997b; Chen Yongge and Gu Dexiang 1998).
Fall webworm, American white moth (Hyphantria cunea)
Fall webworm (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae) is native to North America and was introduced into Dandong and
Xinjin in Liaoning Province in 1979. Since then, it has spread to Shandong and Shanxi, where it has caused
serious damage in orchards, forests, and croplands. Fall webworm has been reported to infest more than
100 plant species in China. Within its introduced range, the species totally defoliates trees in orchards, in
parks and recreation areas, and in horticultural plantings along boulevards, causing significant mortality of
trees in both urban and rural areas (Li Yunchao et al. 1991; Lu Qingguan 1997b).
Banana moth (Opogona sacchari)
Fragrant dracaena (Dracaena fragrans) from Guinea was introduced as an ornamental plant to Guangdong
Province in the early 1980s and was widely planted in the northern part of China, including Beijing, in the
1990s. In the middle 1990s, the first banana moth infestations in Asia were reported on fragrant dracaena
in Beijing, where many trees were killed. The moth has a wide global distribution. It was reported from the
Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean in 1856, and subsequently from many regions in Africa and Europe,
and later from South America and the West Indies, finally invading Florida in the 1980s. Caterpillars are
reported to feed on more than 50 species of host plants representing 24 families, including crops such
as banana, sugarcane, corn and sweet potato and many horticulture plants, especially fragrant dracaena.
Banana moth now occurs in many areas where fragrant dracaena is planted, and is regarded as a particularly
serious threat in the southern provinces of Guangzhou, Fujian and Hainan. Until 1997, reports of this pest
have been confined to ornamental plantings and nurseries. However, it is believed to pose a potential threat
to natural ecosystems (Chen Guifang and Yang Jikun 1997a,b; Chen Guifang et al. 1998).
Loblolly pine mealybug (Oracella acuta)
The loblolly pine mealybug was introduced into Taishan in Guangdong Province in 1989 in a shipment
of 70 loblolly pine (Pinus elliottii) scions from the state of Georgia in the USA. Since then, its range has
expanded to include many counties in Guangdong Province. By July 1993, it had damaged 136,000 hm2of
pine forest. It is estimated that the pest is currently spreading at the rate of 70,000 hm2a year. Loblolly pine
mealybug infests many species of pines, including Pinus taeda,P. elliottii,P. palustris,P. echina and P.
virginiana. During the past 30 years, China has introduced many pine species from the USA, among which
P. elliottii, P.taeda and P. caribaea are widely planted. These species and many endemic pine species are
now threatened by the pest (Pang Xiongfei et al. 1994; He Guofeng 1995).
Vegetable leaf miner (Liriomyza sativae)
The vegetable leaf miner destroys the cotyledons of many plant species, especially in the Cucurbitaceae
and Papilionaceae families and in such genera as Physalis,Lepidium and Ambrosia. The pest is widely
distributed in nearly 40 countries and regions in America, Australia, Africa and Asia. The species was first
reported in China from Hainan, in December, 1993 and has since spread to 21 provinces, municipalities and
autonomous regions covering more than 1,300,000 hm2where it causes significant crop losses. Parasitic
bees, representing 4 families, 13 genera and 34 species have been found to feed on this pest, and successful
biological control is expected (Wang Fuxiang 1997; Xu Zaifu and Zeng Ling 1998).
American rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus)
Originally from North America, the American rice water weevil was introduced into Japan in 1976, and
subsequently to South Korea and then to North Korea in 1988. It was first reported in China from Tangshan
in Hebei Province in 1988 and subsequently from Tianjin, Shandong, Liaoning, Jilin, Zhejiang, Fujian and
Taiwan (1990). By 1997, it had been reported from 54 counties in 8 provinces and damaged 310,000 hm2
of rice fields (Li Xingyu 1997; Wei Hongjun 1997).
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American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
American cockroach is a rapidly invading insect originally from South America. It is now widely dis-
tributed throughout the world, including China where it was first reported from Taiwan in 1931. Higher
densities are found in warmer regions in the south of Huaihe. The species contaminates food and is a vector
for several human diseases. It is particularly common in wineries, bean factories and washrooms (Zhang
Shimei and Zhao Yongxiang 1996).
German cockroach (Blattella germanica)
Originally from Europe, the German cockroach has been widely distributed in the most of counties in the
world. It feeds on food, such as corn and Chinese sorghum, and is regarded as household pest. It was
first recorded in northeast China in 1935 from which it had spread to provinces in eastern China by the
early 1960s, and then to northwestern and southwestern regions in the 1980s (Zhang Shimei and Zhao
Yongxiang 1996).
Woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum)
Originally from North America, the woolly apple aphid was reported in London in 1787, mainland Europe
in 1801, and Switzerland in 1870. It was introduced to Japan from North America in 1872, found in South
Korea in 1926, and introduced to northeast China from Japan in 1929. In China, it was subsequently
reported from in Shandong in 1934 and now has spread to Dalian, Suizhong, and Xingcheng in Liaoning
Province; Qingdao and Yantai in Shandong; Kunming, Lufeng, and Zhaotong in Yunnan; and Lhasa in
Tibet. Species in the apple genus are the main hosts for the pest, which congregates at leaf scars or axils
and feeds on juice. Infested trees are weakened and may even die from lack of nutrition. The aphid has
spread over long distances on transported seedlings, scions and fruit baskets, and locally by flying and on
farming equipment (Feng Mingxiang 1992).
Grape root louse (Phylloxera vitifolii)
Originally from Eastern North America, the grape root louse was first introduced from France to Yantai in
Shandong Province in 1892 and has been reported to cause economic losses in parts of Taiwan, Liaoning,
Shandong and Shanxi. Species in the grape genus (Vitis) are the pest’s only hosts. The grape root louse
seriously damages roots, causing root rot which often kills the plants. In some grape varieties, leaves are
also damaged. The pest spreads over long distances on transported seedlings and cuttings, and locally on
farming tools, by wind or flowing water (Feng Mingxiang 1992).
Nematodes
North American pinewood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus)
The North American pinewood nematode is orginated in North America and was firstly found in Nanjing,
Jiangsu Province in early 80s. It is spread by longhorn beetles, whose larvae bore into pine wood. The
nematodes can kill a pine tree within six months. During the 1980s, this pest nearly eliminated the extensive
plantations of Pinus massoniana, which is native to the Hong Kong region. It has established many disease
centers in Jiangsu, Anhui, Guangdong and Zhejiang, and is spreading to surrounding areas from these
centers (Wang Qiongyu 1992; Dudgeon and Corlett 1994).
Fungi
Black spot (Ceratocystis fimbriata)
Black spot is a major disease of sweet potato caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata. The fungus was introduced
from Japan in 1937 to Liaoning Province from which it rapidly expanded its infected area. By 1980, it
was reported from 26 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. The disease reduces production
by decomposing sweet potato seeds and killing young plants. The fungus also stimulates sweet potato to
produce ipomeamarone and ipomeanine. These toxic biochemicals are known to cause headache in humans
and asthma or even death in cattle (Lu Qingguan 1997b).
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Wildlife diseases
Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus in trout (IPNV)
Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) of trout was first recorded in 1940 in Canada and is now wide-
spread in Europe, Asia and America. Many countries have reported IPN, including the USA, Canada,
Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Scotland, and South Africa. In China, the virus occurs on both the main-
land China and in Taiwan. The RNA virus belongs to the genus Aquabirnavirus, family Birnaviridae.
It not only infects trout, but also many other fishes and aquatic animals. Aquatic animals in at least
20 families can be naturally infected by IPNV, including lamprey, cyclostomes, teleosteans, and some
crustaceans. The mortality for trout can be very high, and is believed to be much lower for other
species. However, no reports are available on the effects of IPN on wild aquatic animals in China (Yu
Dahai and Cui Yanlin 1997).
Plants
Mexican tea (Chenopodium ambrosioides)
Mexican tea is native to tropical America and is now widely distributed in tropical and sub-tropical areas
of the world. It was first collected in Tamsui, Taipei in Taiwan in 1864. Since 1912, it has spread widely
as a roadside weed in the Hong Kong region (Dunn and Tutcher 1912). Now, it is widely distributed in
tropical and subtropical areas in China.
Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides)
Originally from Brazil, alligator-weed was introduced to Shanghai and eastern China in the 1940s. Since
the 1950s, it has been widely introduced for pig forage in many areas of southern China from which it has
escaped into the wild. A 1986 survey showed that the range of the species encompassed 13,344,000 hm2
and that the species had become the major weed of vegetable gardens, sweet potato fields and citrus
orchards (Wang Ren and Wang Yuan 1998).
Spingflower alternanthera (Alternanthera pungens)
Native to Central America, springflower was recently introduced in coastal and open areas of Xiamen in
Fujian Province and Changjiang in Hainan Province. Because its flowers have stinging bristles, the plant
is regarded as a troublesome weed. A related species, A. paronychioides, from tropical America, is found
in Wenchang in Hainan and Qi’ao Island in Guangdong Province (Wu Telin 1994) and in Changhua and
Pingtung in Taiwan (Yang Yuenpo and Liu Hoyih 1996).
Amaranth (Amaranthu spp.)
Prostrate amaranth (Amaranthus blitoides) from North America was first reported from Liaoning in 1875
and subsequently from Beijing. A closely related species, tumbleweed (A. ablbus) was first recorded in
1935. The two non-native species have established a number of wild populations in north and northeast
China. In addition, pigweed (A. retroflexus) and thorny amaranth (A. spinosus) from tropical America and
green amaranth (A. viridis) from tropical Africa are also invasive weeds and are more widely distributed.
Cacti (Cactaceae)
Pest pear (Opuntia stricta var dillenii), originally from coastal areas of the Caribbean, was introduced
to Taiwan by the Dutch in 1645 (Yang Gongyi 1984b). Since then, it has invaded large areas of coastal
southern China where the species is often found on dry, stony soils. The species has sharp spines and is hard
to eradicate. Indian fig (O. ficus-indica), a species from Mexico, was introduced into Taiwan in 1645. Since
then, it has become wild in five provinces of southwestern China (including the southeast of Tibet) where
it is widespread in dry, hot valleys. Another related invasive species is the prickly pear (O. monacantha),
which is native to South America. In 1625, Liu Wenzheng wrote in the book of Yunnan Local Records
that this species had already been introduced to Yunnan by then. Today, the species is widely naturalized
in Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian and Taiwan (Li Zhenyu 1999).
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Common lantana (Lantana camara)
Originally from tropical America and introduced to Taiwan from Spain during the end of the Ming Dynasty
(Yang Gonggi 1984a), common lantana has spread throughout southern China. This shrub, with its spiny
stems and unpleasant odor, is a significant pest which has displaced native local plants.
Love apple (Solanum aculeatissimum)
Love apple is native to tropical areas of South America. Some naturalized specimens were collected in
Guizhou at the end of 19th century, and mistaken for two new species (S. bodinieri and S. cavaleriei).
The species may have been introduced earlier to Guizhou as an ornamental plant. The plant has spiny
stems and leaves and has spread widely south of the Yangtze River where it is now a common weed. Its
poisonous fruits are potentially lethal to foraging cattle. The genus Solanum includes 12 additional non-
native species that are naturalized in China, including mountain tobacco (S. erianthum) and wild tomato
(S. torvum). Except for the kangaroo apple (S. laciniatum) from Oceania, all were introduced from the
Western Hemisphere.
Plantain (Plantago spp.)
Hoary plantain (Plantago virginica) was introduced from North America. It was first collected in Nanchang
in Jiangxi Province in 1951 and now occurs in grassland and along roadsides and lake shores in the southern
part of Jiangsu Province and in Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Fujian and the north of Taiwan. It has been
spreading rapidly due to its prolific seed production and adaptability. Bracted plantain (P. aristata)is
another weed from North America, which was first found in Qingdao, Shandong Province in 1929. It has
since become a widespread weed in Qingdao and now also occurs in Jiangsu Province where it grows on
coasts, beaches, along roadsides, on hills and in grasslands (Li Zhenyu, in press).
Venus’ looking-glass (Triodanis)
Venus’ looking-glass (Triodanis perfoliata) is native to North and Central America and has become wild
in South America and Asia. In China, it was first reported from Wuyi Mountain in 1974, and subsequently
from various places in Fujian Province in the 1980s. It grows along streams, in grasslands and on hills
at elevations from 180 to1000 m. A related species, the small Venus’ looking-glass (T. biflora), was first
found in Anqing, Anhui Province, in 1981 and subsequently from Zhejiang, Fujiang and northern Taiwan
in the mid-1980s (Lammers 1998). Both species have strong reproductive ability, and have both ‘perfect’
and ‘cleistogamous’ flowers (Chen Lingjing et al. 1992).
Tropic ageratum (Ageratumm conyzoides)
Originally from Mexico and now widely distributed in tropical areas of the Eastern Hemisphere, tropic ag-
eratum was first recorded by Bentham G. (1861) in the Flora of Hong Kong. The species was subsequently
found in southern Yunnan Province in the late 19th century. It is now widespread in lowlands, moun-
tains, hills and plains in the Yangtze Drainage and areas further south. Another species, Mexican ageratum
(A. houstonianum) from North America was introduced as an ornamental plant in southern China where it
has often escaped to the wild.
Ragweed (Ambrosia spp.)
Ragweed, including common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and giant ragweed (A. trifida), is native
to North America. Common ragweed was first collected in Hangzhou, Jiangsu Province in 1935. Giant
ragweed reportedly invaded northeast China in the 1950s. By 1989, ragweed had expanded from centers
in Shenyang, Nanjing, Nanchang and Wuhan to include 12 provinces. Both species effectively utilize large
amounts of fertilizer, have high productivity, and regenerate well in dry and infertile soils. Their ability to
block sunlight causes reduced crop productivity. Pollen from these species is the principal cause of ‘hay
fever’, which produces symptoms of allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma. Since 1987, some research
progress has been made on biological control with Zygogramma isuturalis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)
introduced from Canada and the former USSR (Li Xiumei 1997; Wan Fanghao et al. 1993).
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Horseweed (Conyza spp.)
Horseweed (Conyza canadensis), a native of North America, was first collected in Yantai (formerly called
Chefoo), Shandong Province, in 1860. Within seven years, it had spread to Ningbo in Zhejiang, Jiu Jiang in
Jiangxi, Yichang in Hubei and Nanxi in Sichuan. Today, its range includes all of China. Flax-leaf fleabane
(C. bonariensis), a related species from South America, was first collected in Hong Kong in 1857 and
rapidly spread to Guangdong and Shanghai. A specimen was also collected in Chongqing in 1887. This
species and the naturalized Sumatra fleabane (C. sumatrensis), also native to South America, are taller than
horseweed. These species occur primarily south of the Yangtze River and apparently do not adapt well to
the cold, dry climate of northern China.
Daisy fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
Daisy fleabane is native to North America. According to Forbes and Hemsely (1890), it was first col-
lected in Shanghai in 1886. It is now found throughout most of China, and is common in both tem-
perate and subtropical regions. A related species from North America, the Philadelphia daisy or Phil-
adelphia fleabane (E. philadelphicus), was introduced later to China and now is spreading in Jiangsu,
Zhejiang and Shanghai.
Crofton weed (Eupatorium adenophorum)
Crofton weed is native to Central America and naturally spread into southern Yunnan from Myanmar along
roads in the 1940s. It is now widespread in southwest China, and covers an area of 247,000 km2in Yunnan.
This poisonous plant inhibits growth and may even kill local plants and domestic animals (NEPA 1998).
Another weed from Central America, fragrant eupatorium (E. odoratum), was cultivated in Thailand in
the early 1920s (Gagnepain 1924). According to specimen records, this species was present in southern
Yunnan in the early 1930s. It is now spreading in Yunnan, Guangxi and Hainan Provinces.
South American climber (Mikania micrantha)
South American climber was found in Hainan and south of Guangdong (Zhanjiang, Yangjiang, Taishan,
Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong) in the late 1980s where it dominates large areas. It was
first introduced into Malaysia from South America and then spread to all of southeast Asia. It climbs trees,
blocks sunshine and then kills the trees. Its seeds are spread by wind and could reach even remote areas
and islands. For example, Neilingding Island in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, is famous for its abundant
macaques (Macaca mulatta). South American climber was first found in 1997 in the Futian national nature
reserve located in the Island. After 2 years, it has covered 40–60% of the total land, killed local plants in
a large number and threatening over 600 macaques lived in the nature reserve (J. Fellows, pers. comm.;
Zhuang Qiushi 1999).
Tall goldenrod (Solidago altissma)
Tall goldenrod, a native of North America was introduced from Japan to Taipei in Taiwan in 1935 as an
ornamental plant. It was subsequently introduced into Shanghai and Lushan in Jiangxi, and has become
wild in these regions. In Shanghai, it is now found in suburbs along the Kunshan-Shanghai railway, and
in Pudong and Qingpu. The species reproduces prolifically by seeds and also spreads by rootstocks. It
outcompetes other plants and has become a dominant species in many areas. It is a particularly aggressive
in disturbed areas, such as suburban wastelands, roadsides, banks, and in residential and industrial areas;
and is spreading from such areas into surrounding orchards, croplands, and vegetable fields, especially
in Shanghai (Che Jindian and Guo Xihong 1999). Goldenrod (S. canadensis) has also been introduced
and become naturalized in Shanghai, Wuhan and Lushan. Four additional species in the genus from North
America, including the bushy goldenrod (S. graminifolia), were introduced into the Lushan Botanic Garden
from which they have begun to invade local ecosystems.
Common cordgrass (Spartina anglica)
Common cordgrass is a hybrid, originally from western Europe, of smooth (S. alterniflora) and marshhay
cordgrass (S. patens). It was introduced to the coast of Jiangsu Province from Denmark, The Netherlands
1338
and the United Kingdom in 1963 to protect banks from erosion and to improve soils. The species was also
used for forage and for paper-making materials. During the next 20 years, the species was widely cultivated
north to Jingxi, Niaoning and south to beaches in Guangxi, covering more than 30,000 hm2(Zhi Pu 1985).
It has become a predominant species in many of these regions, outcompeting other plants and threatening
native biota (NEPA 1998).
Darnel ryegrass (Lolium temulentum)
Darnel ryegrass is native to Europe, where it is a common weed in wheat fields and consequently is often
found as a contaminant in grain shipments. It was first found in imported wheat from Bulgaria in 1954.
By 1957, the species had become established in Heilongjiang Province. By 1961, its range had expanded
from several to 45 counties. The species was subsequently found in imported wheat from Australia, the
USA, Canada, Argentina, France, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Netherlands. In addition, because
of improper trade in imported wheat and lack of quarantine for transportation of wheat within China, darnel
ryegrass has now invaded crop fields throughout most of China. It is now reported from all provinces and
regions of China except Tibet and Taiwan (Li Yanghan 1998). Its seed is sometimes infested by a fungus
which makes it poisonous to people and domestic animals (Zhou Ailin and Yue Junshan 1987).
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
Water hyacinth is a highly invasive aquatic weed native to South America, which was intentionally intro-
duced into many areas of China as forage for domestic ani mals, for ornamental use, and to purify wastewater.
Since its initial introduction in 1901, the species has spread widely in tropical and subtropical areas, particu-
larly in southern and southwestern China. In 1994, about 10 km2of Dianchi Lake in Yunnan Province – one
of China’s most famous and beautiful lakes – were completely covered by dense mats of water hyacinth.
The rapid spread of this weed has resulted in great economic losses to fisheries and tourism, as well as
declines in native aquatic plants and threats to local biodiversity (Ding Jianqing et al. 1995).
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... China has been invaded by more naturalized exotic plant species than any other country within eastern Asia (Guo et al., 2006;van Kleunen et al., 2019;Zhang et al., 2021). With a great diversity of habitat types and environmental conditions, China is highly vulnerable to the establishment of invasive exotic species (Xie et al., 2001). Due to an overwhelming development in transportation systems, a rapid urbanization, a dramatic land use change, and a large amount of plant introductions in recent decades (Mi et al., 2021), the number of naturalized exotic plant species in China has increased dramatically. ...
... China is, on average, larger for exotics than for natives and that flo- (Axmacher & Sang, 2013;Xie et al., 2001). ...
Article
Full-text available
Aim The introduction of exotic plants can both increase (homogenize) and decrease (differentiate) floristic similarity between areas. We have a poor understanding of the degree to which plant species introductions tend to homogenize or differentiate floras, and relevant studies covering large spatial extent are scarce. China has been heavily invaded by exotic plants. Here, we analyse a comprehensive dataset of vascular plants to determine whether the introduction of exotic plant species has homogenized or differentiated species composition in regions across China. Location China. Methods We calculated the Jaccard index and Simpson index of similarity for each pair of province‐level regions for native and exotic species separately and jointly, and calculated a homogenization index for each pair of regional floras. We correlated species richness of native and exotic plants to climatic factors, and correlated the Jaccard index and Simpson index to geographic and climatic distances. We used variation partitioning analysis to determine the relative importance of geographic and climatic distances on species turnover. We also examined the effect of human population density on florisitic similarity of exotic species. Results We found that the geographic range of each species was, on average, larger for exotics than for natives; floristic similarity between regions was greater for exotics than for natives; the vast majority of pairwise regional floras have been homogenized; the introduction of exotic species has caused stronger biotic homogenization for pairwise floras with greater dissimilarity in their species composition; geographic distributions of exotic and native species were determined by different sets of climatic factors; and distributions of exotic species were determined by climatic factors more strongly, compared to those of native species. Human population density had a moderate effect on florisitic similarity of exotic species. Main conclusions The introduction of exotic plant species has homogenized regional floras across China. Because strong international trades between China and other countries and dramatic development of transportation systems are continuing in China, which help spread of exotic species, we predict that exotic species will continue to spread and will strengthen biotic homogenization in China.
... Mixed results found by previous studies might be, at least in part, because different studies emphasized on different scales of phylogeny (e.g., a relatively narrow lineage with only one or two families of angiosperms vs. the lineage of all angiosperms), different studies utilized metrics of phylogenetic relatedness that quantify phylogenetic relatedness at different depths of evolutionary history (e.g., tip-weighted vs. basal- China is the third largest country with very diverse environments and very well-known regional floras of both native and naturalized species. With a great diversity of habitat types and environmental conditions, China is highly vulnerable to the establishment of invasive species (Xie et al., 2001). China is among the countries in Asia that have been most heavily invaded by non-native plants (Essl et al., 2019;Zhang et al., 2021), partly because China has a long history of K E Y W O R D S angiosperms, community assembly, exotic species, introduced species, invasive species, niche conservatism, phylogenetic dispersion, phylogenetic relatedness international trade, agriculture and civilization, and partly because of recent fast development of transportation systems across China. ...
... For example, civilizations in China dated back to more than 4000 years (Lü et al., 2014), which means that China's landscapes have been exposed to human impacts for many thousands of years. Chinese foreign trade began as early as the Western Han dynasty, when the famous 'Silk Road' was pioneered by Chinese envoys, and non-native plants have been introduced and subsequently became naturalized in China for more than 2000 years (Axmacher & Sang, 2013;Xie et al., 2001). China offers an excellent system for testing hypotheses about assembly of invasive plant species from their naturalized plant species pool. ...
Article
Full-text available
Aim We test (1) whether invasive angiosperm (flowering plant) species are a phylogenetically clustered subset of all naturalized angiosperm species within an angiosperm assemblage, (2) whether more harmful invasive species are more strongly, or less strongly, related to each other, (3) whether the result of the first test is consistent with those for geographic regions distributed in substantially different climatic conditions, and (4) whether patterns of phylogenetic relatedness for invasive species in regions across climatic gradients are consistent with those for overall naturalized species. Location China. Time period Current. Taxon Angiosperms (flowering plants). Methods We recognized 28 province‐level regions in China and collated naturalized and invasive species lists of angiosperms for each region. Two phylogenetic metrics (i.e., net relatedness index and nearest taxon index), which represent different depths of evolutionary history, were used to quantify phylogenetic relatedness of angiosperms in China and in each region. Values of the metrics of phylogenetic relatedness were related to temperature and precipitation. Results At the national scale, invasive assemblage is a phylogenetically clustered subset of the naturalized species pool. More harmful invasive species are more strongly clustered. At the regional scale, both naturalized and invasive species are phylogenetically clustered subsets of the national naturalized species pool. Furthermore, invasive species in regional floras are also phylogenetically clustered subsets of their respective regional naturalized species pools. Main conclusions Invasive angiosperm species are a phylogenetically clustered subset of naturalized angiosperm species. More harmful invasive species are more strongly clustered with respect to their naturalized species pools, compared to less harmful invasive species. Our findings have significant implications to predicting and controlling invasive species based on phylogenetic relatedness among naturalized species.
... S. canadensis, a complex autopolyploid native to the USA and adjacent regions of Canada (Weber 2000;Semple 2016) where it exists in a diploid (2n = 18), tetraploid (2n = 36), or hexaploid (2n = 54) (Croat 1972). S. canadensis was introduced to Shanghai in China as an ornamental plant in 1935 (Xie et al. 2001) and then widely cultivated in Yunnan, Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces. However, since the 1980s, it has been widely distributed along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River areas and even expanded to the Pearl River basin, causing dangerous environmental change (Wang et al. 2018). ...
Article
Clonality and ploidy levels are positively associated with plant invasiveness. However, there is still no consensus on whether polyploidization can promote the invasion of alien plants by enhancing clonality. Our recent long‐term community succession study found that the more vigorous clone of introduced polyploid Solidago canadensis succeeded into mono‐dominant community, which seems to be a positive correlationship between polyploidization and clonal reproduction. However, how polyploidization improves the clonal reproduction of S. canadensis remains unknown. Here, we compared clonal growth ability among diploids and polyploids of S. canadensis from native and introduced ranges in a common garden. Results showed that the rhizomes of S. canadensis originated from axillary buds of dense nodes at the basal stem of seedling and then produced into clonal ramets. Diploids had denser nodes and more buds, developed more rhizomes per unit mass and produced more clonal propagules at the early growth stage compared with polyploids. However, the number of juvenile and secondary rhizomes, as well as the diameter and length of rhizomes in polyploid populations was significant higher than those of diploids, and those clonal traits in introduced polyploids were significant higher than in native polyploids. Moreover, a phalanx growth form was observed in native and introduced diploid populations, which allocated about 3% and 5% of the total biomass to rhizomes, respectively, resulting in short and weak rhizomes. However, native and introduced polyploids allocated about 35% and 40%, respectively, of the total biomass to rhizomes, resulting in long and strong rhizomes, which were guerrilla growth forms. This study firstly shows that polyploidization enhanced the effective clonal reproduction of S. canadensis through pre‐adaptation and rapid post‐adaptation evolution, and consequently contributed to its successful invasion.
... angiosperms, community assembly, Darwin's preadaptation hypothesis, environmental filtering, exotic species, introduced species, niche conservatism, niche convergence, phylogenetic dispersion, phylogenetic structure China for more than 2,000 years (Axmacher & Sang, 2013;Xie et al., 2001). Transportation systems in China have been enormously improved during the past two decades, and migration of humans among regions has been intensive, likely assisting the spread of introduced species. ...
Article
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The introduction of alien species may be influenced by the phylogenetic structure of the native assemblage, while at the same time altering that structure. Understanding these effects sheds light on both the factors influencing naturalization of introduced species and their impacts. Considering regional angiosperm assemblages across China, we ask the following questions: (a) Do geographic patterns and climate relationships of alien species richness and phylogenetic structure mirror those of natives? (b) Has the addition of alien species resulted in stronger phylogenetic clustering as predicted by Darwin's preadaptation hypothesis? (c) To what degree does the answer to these questions depend on phylogenetic scale? China. Current. Angiosperms (flowering plants). We divided China into 28 province‐level regions and collated native and naturalized alien species lists of angiosperms for each region. For each region, we computed two types of phylogenetic structure metrics [mean phylogenetic distance (MPD) and mean nearest neighbour distance (MNND), and their standardized effect sizes] for the native, alien and combined assemblages, and for angiosperms as a whole, 5 major clades and 10 well‐represented families. We then related these to climatic factors using correlation analyses. Richness of alien angiosperms is highest in regions with species rich and phylogenetically dispersed native assemblages. The standardized effect size of mean phylogenetic distance (MPDses) for aliens was positively correlated with that for natives. The introduction of alien species generally increased phylogenetic clustering of the combined assemblage compared to the natives for large phylogenetic extents, but effects within plant families were mixed. The MPDses was positively correlated with temperature and precipitation for both natives and aliens. The phylogenetic relationships at a lower level of phylogenetic scale may differ substantially from those at a higher level of phylogenetic scale. At the broadest phylogenetic extents, alien species tend to recapitulate the biogeographic patterns of natives, showing similar spatial patterns of species richness and phylogenetic structure, and tending to represent the same major angiosperm clades. This is highly consistent with Darwin's preadaptation hypothesis. Across narrower swaths of the phylogeny, these patterns are less clear, with a substantial number of plant families showing support for the biogeographic barrier hypothesis.
... Some countries, like Japan, have separate legislations that is solely focused on IAS, the Invasive Alien Species Act, promulgated in 2005. Similarly, different laws and regulations regarding IAS, such as the Domestic Animals Epidemic Prevention Regulation and Plant Quarantine Regulations, the Quarantine Law on Import and Export of Animals and Plants, the Protection Law for Wildlife, the Law on Hygienic Quarantine, the Living Modified Organisms Act, and so forth, have been issued in East Asia (Xie et al. 2001;Washitani 2004;Son et al. 2009;Yan et al. 2012). South Korea and India have other legislations that deal with IAS. ...
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Asia, occupying nearly 30% of the earth’s terrestrial surface, is one of the most important continent known for its highly diverse culture, economy, geography, and ecology. Three of the world’s five largest economies, and nearly two-thirds of the world’s population, are in Asia. The continent has a diverse range of habitats including tropical moist and boreal forests, deserts, and the Arctic tundra. Eleven out of 36 global biodiversity hotspots are in Asia, all of which are threatened due to multiple human-mediated drivers including biological invasions. The number of known invasive alien plant species (IAPS) currently present in Asia is high, and their number and distribution are expected to increase further due to a lack of effective management responses, land use and climate changes, and expanding international trade, travel, and transport. IAPS such as Ageratina adenophora, Chromolaena odorata, Lantana camara, Leucaena leucocephala, Mikania micrantha, Mimosa diplotricha, Parthenium hysterophorus, and Pontederia crassipes are widespread in the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. Most of the known IAPS in Asia have a Central and South American origin. However, information on biological invasions, especially those of plants, is poor and fragmented, hampering efforts to develop and implement policies and management interventions. The continent is lagging behind much of the world in research effort and knowledge generation related to plant invasions. Capacity, both human and otherwise, of most countries to address biological invasions is low. Most countries (particularly in Central Asia) also lack a comprehensive database of IAPS. Ecological impact studies are also lacking in Southeast, Central, and North Asia. With a few exceptions, the economic cost of plant invasions is also unknown in most countries. Priority actions required for effective management of IAPS in Asia include regional collaboration for research and knowledge sharing, promotion and institutionalization of biological control, and increased focus on socioecological research related to plant invasions. Additionally, efforts are required at the continental scale to make all stakeholders aware of the problem of plant invasions for the formulation of appropriate policies and implementation of effective management strategies.
... Ponds for crayfish aquaculture now cover 12,860 km 2 , with annual production exceeding 2.09 million tonnes in 2019 and economic output over 411 billion yuan (65 billion USD) (Anonymous, 2020). Despite the magnitude of the problem, damage to native biodiversity and ecosystems from exotic species has not gained much public attention in China (Xie et al., 2001). per unit effort has fallen to an historic low (Kang et al., 2017). ...
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The Yangtze River contains the highest fish diversity and most important inland fishery resources in China, but its biota and ecosystem services face an uncertain future. The river and its basin have undergone vast changes from centuries of human impacts, and fish stocks are in a particularly dire situation. A complete 10- year moratorium on commercial fishing within the entire Yangtze River was implemented starting in January 2021. By itself, the ban on fishing will unlikely guarantee full recovery. We conclude that multiple human impacts to the basin and its fish stocks require multidisciplinary strategies implemented at the whole basin scale for effective conservation.
... The study site represents a typical abandoned agricultural field that has been continuously colonised by diverse plant species. Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.), an agricultural weed native to North America but an invader in China (Xie et al., 2001), is one of the most problematic noxious weeds in our arable fields and strongly reduces crop yield. ...
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Elton's biotic resistance hypothesis, which posits that diverse communities should be more resistant to biological invasions, has received considerable experimental support. However, it remains unclear whether such a negative diversity–invasibility relationship would persist under anthropogenic environmental change. By using the common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) as a model invader, our 4-year grassland experiment demonstrated consistently negative relationships between resident species diversity and community invasibility, irrespective of nitrogen addition, a result further supported by a meta-analysis. Importantly, our experiment showed that plant diversity consistently resisted invasion simultaneously through increased resident biomass, increased trait dissimilarity among residents, and increased community-weighted means of resource-conservative traits that strongly resist invasion, pointing to the importance of both trait complementarity and sampling effects for invasion resistance even under resource enrichment. Our study provides unique evidence that considering species’ functional traits can help further our understanding of biotic resistance to biological invasions in a changing environment.
... As well discussed by Zeng et al., biodiversity changes resulting from dam construction may increase susceptibility to species invasion in a number of ways (Chapin et al. 2000). The human introductions of alien/exotic fishes are deemed to be the second largest cause of species extinction after the habitat destruction (Vitousek et al. 1997;Xie et al. 2001;Zeng et al. 2017). An impressive amount of autochthonous species has been extirpated throughout the world following the introduction of alien/exotic fish species into their habitats (Lever 1996;Taylor et al. 1984). ...
Chapter
Various impacts of dams on aquatic organisms have been well documented in the recent past. The construction of a dam can make significant changes in the ecosystem of a river and particularly affect fish communities including obstruct the upward migration, reduce the genetic diversity and affect morphology, reproduction and growth indices, etc. After China and Turkey, Iran is the third country in dam construction in the world. Construction of dams is essential for socio-economic development in an arid country like Iran. Dams construction started since 1950s in Iran, which to date there are more than 600 (big and small) constructed dams reported from the country. Despite various benefits, construction of dams has also many assessable negative environmental impacts particularly on fishes. About 300 fish species (≅ 100 endemics) listed from water basins of Iran, which the fauna is mostly affected by the dams. The damming and its effects on fish populations in Iran is reviewed. As a result, almost no environmental considerations (in relation with ichthyofauna) have been observed in the damming, such that these dams normally designed and constructed without any fishways or fish ladders. Therefore, the dams mainly could (1) change aquatic ecosystems, (2) make limitation for downstream dispersal and blocking the upstream migration altogether, (3) periodically dried out downstream, (4) produce morphologically/genetically different populations in up and downstream and (5) affect the growth indices and reproductive characteristics, etc. Also, the introduction of non-native/invasion fishes into the reservoirs is an important threat for native fish communities. The diadromous species within the families Acipenseridae, Cyprinidae, Gobiidae, Petromyzontidae and Salmonidae were negatively affected by dams, whereas some native cyprinids and loaches those threatened by the drought were positively associated with the damming, where they could survive themselves in the reservoirs. It can be concluded that dams in Iran have negatively affected native – especially migratory – fish species by blocking their migration routes, whereas favouring non-native/invasion fish species, or altering existing aquatic habitats. Conservation programmes favouring native/endemic fishes in the constructed dams are strongly recommended, and fishways should be mandatory in the under construction/planned dams.
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Termites are ubiquitously abundant in the tropics and subtropics. Globally 28 species are considered invasive among the 2937 species in nine families known. Among the invasive species, most are considered nuisance organisms to humans in urban areas, and a few have invaded natural forests. Generally, the invasive termites share three qualities: (i) they eat wood, (ii) make nests in wood, and (iii) they quickly generate secondary reproductives. These qualities are the most common in the Kalotermitidae and Rhinotermitidae (Blattodea: Isoptera), which enhance their opportunities for producing viable and reproductively capable individuals. Species of the Termitidae cannot produce secondary reproductives, and this is attributed as a reason for their lack of invasiveness. The 28 species recognized as strongly invasive have the potential to widen their geographical range from their present distribution locations. According to available data, 10 out of the 17 recognized invasive species have expanded their area of occurrence since 1969. Among the 28, three are known in India, although their exact distribution data in the Indian subcontinent, the damage they inflict, and consequent economic loss are yet to be worked out in detail. Climate change, intensifying urbanization, and globalization, acting either individually or in combination, are likely to exacerbate ecological and economic effects. Strict quarantine measures and appropriate treatment of every wood material imported are imperative. Efforts have been made to list the potential invasive termites in India based on imported-wood material. Approximately 70 species reported in the GenBank database for about 300 species known from India, emphasizing a dire need for accurate morphological and molecular determinations. Gene sequences of some of the Indian termite species submitted are incorrectly identified, as their presence and distribution in India is doubtful. Therefore, in this article, I discuss the importance of the combined and efficient use of morphological and molecular taxonomy in determining termites in India.
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The Yangtze River is the longest river in China, with abundant water resources, high water energy reserves, and rich biodiversity. Human activities have greatly changed the hydrology and ecology of the Yangtze River Basin since the 1950s. The aquatic biodiversity in the Yangtze River Basin has declined sharply, while the amount of fishery in the Yangtze River has been maintained due to higher intense of fishing, artificial proliferation intervention, and other factors. Human activities including overfishing, water polluting, damming, reclaiming wetlands, shipping and shoreline development, species introduction, and so forth have had great influence on aquatic ecosystems. This paper also reviewed the measures implemented to protect the aquatic ecosystems of the Yangtze River. By reviewing the evolutionary trend of aquatic organisms in the Yangtze River Basin and the related human activities, this paper helps to better understand the biodiversity of the Yangtze River, and requires more attention on the continuous impact of human activities, as well as the effectiveness of protection measures under the new situation of Yangtze River protection.
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In 1978 biologists in Gainesville, Florida, began compiling records on the distribution and status of nonindigenous fishes known in U.S. inland waters. The database, now in electronic format, currently contains approximately 17,000 records representing more than 500 nonindigenous fish taxa (i.e., species, hybrids, and unidentified forms). Of these taxa, 317 (61%) are native to the United States but have been introduced by humans into U.S. drainages outside their natural geographic ranges; 185 (35%) are fishes introduced from foreign countries; and 22 (4%) are hybrids. Of the introduced foreign fish taxa, 71 (38%) are species that have established (i.e., reproducing) or possibly established populations in open U.S. waters. The database is a useful tool for natural resource managers and other decision makers. Although we periodically revise records and constantly enter new ones, our database is fairly updated; thus, we are able to more thoroughly analyze patterns of introduction and the spread of nonindigenous fishes within the United States. Moreover, information gaps exposed by the data set should serve to stimulate and guide future research on nonindigenous fishes. This paper introduces our database and provides an overview of temporal and spatial patterns of nonindigenous fish distributions in U.S. inland waters.
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