Biological Invasions by Exotic Grasses, the Grass/Fire Cycle, and Global Change

Biological Invasions by Exotic Grasses, the Grass/Fire Cycle, and Global Change Biological invasions into wholly new regions are a consequence of a far reaching but underappreciated component of global environmental change, the human-caused breakdown of biogeographic barriers to species dispersal. Human activity moves species from place to place both accidentally and deliberately-and it does so at rates that are without precedent in the last tens of millions of years. As a result , taxa that evolved in isolation from each other are being forced into contact in an instant of evolutionary time. This human-caused breakdown of barriers to dispersal sets in motion changes that may seem less important than the changing composition of the atmosphere , climate change , or tropical deforestation-but they are significant for several reasons. First , to date , biological invasions have caused more species extinctions than have resulted from human-caused climatic change or the changing composition of the atmosphere . Only land use change probably has caused more extinction, and (as we later discuss) land use change interacts strongly with biological invasions. Second, the effects of human-caused biological invasions are long-term: changes in climate, the atmosphere, and land use may be reversible in hundreds to thousands of years, but the breakdown of biogeographic barriers http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Annual Reviews

Biological Invasions by Exotic Grasses, the Grass/Fire Cycle, and Global Change

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Publisher
Annual Reviews
Copyright
Copyright 1992 Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
Subject
Review Articles
ISSN
0066-4162
D.O.I.
10.1146/annurev.es.23.110192.000431
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Biological invasions into wholly new regions are a consequence of a far reaching but underappreciated component of global environmental change, the human-caused breakdown of biogeographic barriers to species dispersal. Human activity moves species from place to place both accidentally and deliberately-and it does so at rates that are without precedent in the last tens of millions of years. As a result , taxa that evolved in isolation from each other are being forced into contact in an instant of evolutionary time. This human-caused breakdown of barriers to dispersal sets in motion changes that may seem less important than the changing composition of the atmosphere , climate change , or tropical deforestation-but they are significant for several reasons. First , to date , biological invasions have caused more species extinctions than have resulted from human-caused climatic change or the changing composition of the atmosphere . Only land use change probably has caused more extinction, and (as we later discuss) land use change interacts strongly with biological invasions. Second, the effects of human-caused biological invasions are long-term: changes in climate, the atmosphere, and land use may be reversible in hundreds to thousands of years, but the breakdown of biogeographic barriers

Journal

Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and SystematicsAnnual Reviews

Published: Nov 1, 1992

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