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Effects of climate change and horticultural use on the spread of naturalized alien garden plants in Europe

Klonner, Günther; Wessely, Johannes; Gattringer, Andreas; Moser, Dietmar; Dullinger, Iwona; Hülber, Karl; Rumpf, Sabine B.; Block, Svenja; Bossdorf, Oliver; Carboni, Marta; Conti, Luisa; Dawson, Wayne; Haeuser, Emily; Hermy, Martin; Münkemüller, Tamara; Parepa, Madalin; Thuiller, Wilfried; Van der Veken, Sebastiaan; Verheyen, Kris; van Kleunen, Mark; Essl, Franz; Dullinger, Stefan

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Günther Klonner

Johannes Wessely

Andreas Gattringer

Dietmar Moser

Iwona Dullinger

Karl Hülber

Sabine B. Rumpf

Svenja Block

Oliver Bossdorf

Marta Carboni

Luisa Conti

Emily Haeuser

Martin Hermy

Tamara Münkemüller

Madalin Parepa

Wilfried Thuiller

Sebastiaan Van der Veken

Kris Verheyen

Mark van Kleunen

Franz Essl

Stefan Dullinger


Climate warming is supposed to enlarge the area climatically suitable to the naturalization of alien garden plants in temperate regions. However, the effects of a changing climate on the spread of naturalized ornamentals have not been evaluated by spatially and temporarily explicit range modelling at larger scales so far. Here, we assess how climate change and the frequency of cultivation interactively determine the spread of 15 ornamental plants over the 21st century in Europe. We coupled species distribution modelling with simulations of demography and dispersal to predict range dynamics of these species in annual steps across a 250 x 250 m raster of the study area. Models were run under four scenarios of climate warming and six levels of cultivation intensity. Cultivation frequency was implemented as size of the area used for planting a species. Although the area climatically suitable to the 15 species increases, on average, the area predicted to be occupied by them in 2090 shrinks under two of the three climate change scenarios. This contradiction obviously arises from dispersal limitations that were pronounced although we assumed that cultivation is spatially adapting to the changing climate. Cultivation frequency had a much stronger effect on species spread than climate change, and this effect was non‐linear. The area occupied increased sharply from low to moderate levels of cultivation intensity, but levelled off afterwards. Our simulations suggest that climate warming will not necessarily foster the spread of alien garden plants in Europe over the next decades. However, climatically suitable areas do increase and hence an invasion debt is likely accumulating. Restricting cultivation of species can be effective in preventing species spread, irrespective of how the climate develops. However, for being successful, they depend on high levels of compliance to keep propagule pressure at a low level.


Klonner, G., Wessely, J., Gattringer, A., Moser, D., Dullinger, I., Hülber, K., …Dullinger, S. (2019). Effects of climate change and horticultural use on the spread of naturalized alien garden plants in Europe. Ecography, 42(9), 1548-1557.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 25, 2019
Online Publication Date May 26, 2019
Publication Date Sep 30, 2019
Deposit Date May 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 25, 2019
Journal Ecography
Print ISSN 0906-7590
Electronic ISSN 1600-0587
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 9
Pages 1548-1557


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Copyright Statement
Advance Online Version © 2019 The Authors Ecography published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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