Professor Jeffrey Corbin published a paper in Ecology Letters that used nearly 25,000 plots from US National Parks Service sites to show that diverse plant communities are more resistant to invasion by exotic species. One implication is that there is a likely positive feedback between efforts to conserve biodiversity and reducing invasions - which can, in turn, benefit native biodiversity.
The biotic resistance hypothesis predicts that diverse native communities are more resistant to invasion. However, past studies vary in their support for this hypothesis due to an apparent contradiction between experimental studies, which support biotic resistance, and observational studies, which find that native and non‐native species richness are positively related at broad scales (small‐scale studies are more variable). Here, we present a novel analysis of the biotic resistance hypothesis using 24 456 observations of plant richness spanning four community types and seven ecoregions of the United States. Non‐native plant occurrence was negatively related to native plant richness across all community types and ecoregions, although the strength of biotic resistance varied across different ecological, anthropogenic and climatic contexts. Our results strongly support the biotic resistance hypothesis, thus reconciling differences between experimental and observational studies and providing evidence for the shared benefits between invasive species management and native biodiversity conservation.
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