The Human Release Hypothesis for biological invasions: human activity as a determinant of the abundance of invasive plant species

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Research on biological invasions has increased rapidly over the past 30 years, generating numerous explanations of how species become invasive. While the mechanisms of invasive species establishment are well studied, the mechanisms driving abundance patterns (i.e. patterns of population density and population size) remain poorly understood. It is assumed that invasive species typically have higher abundances in their new environments than in their native ranges, and patterns of invasive species abundance differ between invaded regions. To explain differences in invasive species abundance, we propose the Human Release Hypothesis. In parallel to the established Enemy Release Hypothesis, this hypothesis states that the differences in abundance of invasive species are found between regions because population expansion is reduced in some regions through continuous land management and associated cutting of the invasive species. The Human Release Hypothesis does not negate other important drivers of species invasions, but rather should be considered as a potentially important complementary mechanism. We illustrate the hypothesis via a case study on an invasive rose species, and hypothesize which locations globally may be most likely to support high abundances of invasive species. We propose that more extensive empirical work on the Human Release Hypothesis could be useful to test its general applicability.
ZeitschriftFaculty of 1000 Research
Anzahl der Seiten8
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 12.12.2014

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© 2014 Zimmermann H et al.