Alien Plant Invasions in Tropical and Sub-tropical Savannas: Patterns, Processes and Prospects

Foxcroft, L.C., D.M. Richardson, M. Rejmanek and P. Pysek

Publication Date:

We reviewed the literature, contrasting the African situation with that of Neotropical and Australian savannas. A number of drivers and explanatory factors of plant invasions in savannas have been described, mostly from the Neotropics and Australia. These include herbivore presence, residence time, intentional introductions for pasture improvements, fire regimes, the physiology of the introduced species, and anthropogenic disturbance. After comparing these drivers across the three regions, we suggest that the lower extent of alien plant invasions in African savannas is largely attributable to: (1) significantly lower rates of intentional plant introductions and widespread plantings (until recently); (2) the role of large mammalian herbivores in these ecosystems; (3) historical and biogeographical issues relating to the regions of origin of introduced species; and (4) the adaptation of African systems to fire. We discuss how changing conditions in the three regions are likely to affect plant invasions in the future.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Biological Invasions