Pino J.; Font X.; Carbó J. et al. 2005. “Large-scale correlates of alien plant invasion in Catalonia (NE of Spain)”. Biological Conservation.


Identification of the main correlates of the invasion process is a fundamental step in alien species management at the regional scale. This paper explores the main climatic, territorial, and anthropic correlates of alien plant species richness and percentage in Catalonia (NE of Spain), by means of GIS techniques. We used floristic data collected in FLORACAT per UTM 10 km × 10 km to set up the number and the percentage of alien species. The association of these variables with climate, topography, landscape, human settlement, and geographic position was explored by means of stepwise regression models applied on the axes obtained from principal component analysis. The significance of the resulting correlates was tested using the modified t test of Dutilleul to remove the effects of spatial autocorrelation. PCA reduced the 22 variables to 12 principal components (PC) that explained 90% of the cumulative variance. Regression models were highly significant and captured a high proportion of total variance (adjusted r2 = 0.70 for alien species richness and r2 = 0.56 for alien species percentage). Both alien species richness and percentage were mainly correlated to PC summarising variables concerning climate, habitat and landscape heterogeneity, and potential anthropogenic disturbance. However, while these PC exhibited similar weights on alien species richness, species percentage was mainly determined by climate. Implications for conservation are discussed considering a future scenario of climate warming and increasing land use change in Mediterranean areas.