Introduced species present the greatest threat to the unique terrestrial biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands. We assess the current status of plant invasion in Galapagos, predict the likelihood of future naturalizations and invasions from the existing introduced flora, and suggest measures to help limit future invasions. There has been a 1.46 fold increase in plant biodiversity in Galapagos due to alien plant naturalizations, reflecting a similar trend on islands elsewhere. There are 870 alien plant species recorded in the archipelago. Of evaluated species, 34% species have naturalized. Within this group are the invasive species (16% of evaluated) and the transformers (3.3% of evaluated). We show that, as expected, naturalized species have been present in the archipelago longer than non-naturalized species. We also find that a higher human-mediated propagule pressure is associated with a greater human population and with properties that have been settled longer. This, combined with the relatively recent introduction of most species, leads us to the conclusion that Galapagos is at an early stage of plant invasion. We predict that more species from the existing alien flora will find an opportunity to naturalize and invade as propagule pressure increases alongside rapid human population growth associated with immigration to serve the booming tourism industry. In order to reduce future invasion risk, we suggest reviewing inter-island quarantine measures and continuing community education efforts to reduce human-mediated propagule pressure. � 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
|Published - 2010