Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/geb.13027
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Similar factors underlie tree abundance in forests in native and alien ranges
Author van der Sande, M.T.; Bruelheide, H.; Dawson, W.; Dengler, J.; Essl, F.; Field, R.; Haider, S.; van Kleunen, M.; Kreft, H.; Pagel, J.; Pergl, J.; Purschke, O.; Pyšek, P.; Weigelt, P.; Winter, M.; Attorre, F.; Aubin, I.; Bergmeier, E.; Chytrý, M.; Dainese, M.; De Sanctis, M.; Fagundez, J.; Golub, V.; Guerin, G.R.; Gutiérrez, A.G.; Jandt, U.; Jansen, F.; Jiménez‐Alfaro, B.; Kattge, J.; Kearsley, E.; Klotz, S.; Kramer, K.; Moretti, M.; Niinemets, Ü.; Peet, R.K.; Penuelas, J.; Petřík, P.; Reich, P.B.; Sandel, B.; Schmidt, M.; Sibikova, M.; Violle, C.; Whitfeld, T.J.S.; Wohlgemuth, T.; Knight, T.M.
Source Titel Global Ecology and Biogeography
Year 2020
Department BZF; iDiv
Volume 29
Issue 2
Page From 281
Page To 294
Language englisch
Data and Software links
Keywords abundance; dissimilarity; forest; functional traits; global; plant invasion; trees


Alien plant species can cause severe ecological and economic problems, and therefore attract a lot of research interest in biogeography and related fields. To identify potential future invasive species, we need to better understand the mechanisms underlying the abundances of invasive tree species in their new ranges, and whether these mechanisms differ between their native and alien ranges. Here, we test two hypotheses: that greater relative abundance is promoted by (a) functional difference from locally co‐occurring trees, and (b) higher values than locally co‐occurring trees for traits linked to competitive ability.



Time period


Major taxa studied



We combined three global plant databases: sPlot vegetation‐plot database, TRY plant trait database and Global Naturalized Alien Flora (GloNAF) database. We used a hierarchical Bayesian linear regression model to assess the factors associated with variation in local abundance, and how these relationships vary between native and alien ranges and depend on species’ traits.


In both ranges, species reach highest abundance if they are functionally similar to co‐occurring species, yet are taller and have higher seed mass and wood density than co‐occurring species.

Main conclusions

Our results suggest that light limitation leads to strong environmental and biotic filtering, and that it is advantageous to be taller and have denser wood. The striking similarities in abundance between native and alien ranges imply that information from tree species’ native ranges can be used to predict in which habitats introduced species may become dominant.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
van der Sande, M.T., Bruelheide, H., Dawson, W., Dengler, J., Essl, F., Field, R., Haider, S., van Kleunen, M., Kreft, H., Pagel, J., Pergl, J., Purschke, O., Pyšek, P., Weigelt, P., Winter, M., Attorre, F., Aubin, I., Bergmeier, E., Chytrý, M., Dainese, M., De Sanctis, M., Fagundez, J., Golub, V., Guerin, G.R., Gutiérrez, A.G., Jandt, U., Jansen, F., Jiménez‐Alfaro, B., Kattge, J., Kearsley, E., Klotz, S., Kramer, K., Moretti, M., Niinemets, Ü., Peet, R.K., Penuelas, J., Petřík, P., Reich, P.B., Sandel, B., Schmidt, M., Sibikova, M., Violle, C., Whitfeld, T.J.S., Wohlgemuth, T., Knight, T.M. (2020):
Similar factors underlie tree abundance in forests in native and alien ranges
Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 29 (2), 281 - 294 10.1111/geb.13027