Do biodiversity and human impact influence the introduction or establishment of alien mammals?
Jonathan M. Jeschke, Piero Genovesi – 2010
What determines the number of alien species in a given region? ‘Native biodiversity’ and ‘human impact’ are typical answers to this question. Indeed, studies comparing different regions have frequently found positive relationships between number of alien species and measures of both native biodiversity (e.g. the number of native species) and human impact (e.g. human population). These relationships are typically explained by biotic acceptance or resistance, i.e. by influence of native biodiversity and human impact on the second step of the invasion process, establishment. The first step of the invasion process, introduction, has often been ignored. Here we investigate whether relationships between number of alien mammals and native biodiversity or human impact in 43 European countries are mainly shaped by differences in number of introduced mammals or establishment success. Our results suggest that correlation between number of native and established mammals is spurious, as it is simply explainable by the fact that both quantities are linked to country area. We also demonstrate that countries with higher human impact host more alien mammals than other countries because they received more introductions than other countries. Differences in number of alien mammals cannot be explained by differences in establishment success. Our findings highlight importance of human activities and question, at least for mammals in Europe, importance of biotic acceptance and resistance.