Identifying areas of high invasion risk: a general model and an application to Mexico

Ek del-Val, Patricia Balvanera, Fabiana Castellarini, Francisco Javier Espinosa-García, Miguel Murguía, Carlos Pacheco


Maps have become a key tool to guide priorities for biodiversity conservation, the maintenance of ecosystem services, but much less so for critical action against further service loss in critical areas. Biological invasions are important disruptors of ecosystem services given that they directly or indirectly affect human well being, as they are an important cause of biodiversity loss worldwide and interfere with the provision of many ecosystem services. Here, we propose a general model to identify regions where the probability of plant invasion is higher and can cause and/or aggravate negative effects upon ecosystems. We then apply the general model to Mexico. Our model of probability of invasion considers 4 main variables: propagule availability, vegetation type, anthropic disturbance and native plant species richness. We calculated an invasion risk index combining all factors. We produced 5 maps, one for each variable and another constructed with our model of combined risk, for a grid of 0.5º × 0.5º grid across the whole country. We validated our model with State level data on exotic plants per State and obtained a significant correlation (r= 0.73, p< 0.001) between our invasion risk index derived from the model and the observed density of exotic species. Areas with greater susceptibility to invasion are closer to large human settlements and to areas of intensive agriculture. Very high risk corridors and islands were detected in our maps, as well very high risk areas in high diversity regions such as Chiapas and the Puebla-Veracruz border where we suggest attention should be focused. Our model although simple, provides a useful tool for policy design to detect areas within a specific region or country where biotic invasions are likely to have a large effect. Locating these areas is important in order to maximize return on monetary and human resources and to
minimize damaging effects of plant invasions.

Palabras clave

Exotic species; Invasion model; Ecosystem services; Biotic invasion

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


Enlaces refback

  • No hay ningún enlace refback.

     Ed. en Jefe: Fernando Álvarez Noguera
     Tel: (55)5622-9164
     ISSN-versión electrónica: 2007-8706
     FACTOR DE IMPACTO 2019 (publicado en 2020): 0.585
     FI a 5 años: 0.971
     CiteScore (Scopus, 2020): 1.4
     Licencia Creative Commons 
Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad por IB-UNAM se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivar 4.0 Internacional.


Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, Año 3, No. 12, enero-marzo 2014, es una publicación trimestral editada por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, a través del Instituto de Biología, Tercer Circuito Universitario s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Copilco, Del. Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Tel. (55)56229164,, responsable: Dr. Fernando Álvarez Noguera. Reserva de Derechos al uso Exclusivo No. 04-2013-092709142100-203, ISSN: 2007-8706, ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor, Responsable de la última actualización de este número, Instituto de Biología, UNAM, Dr. Fernando Álvarez Noguera, Tercer Circuito Universitario s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Copilco, Del. Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, fecha de la última modificación: 25 de agosto de 2016.

Las opiniones expresadas por los autores, no necesariamente reflejan la postura del editor de la publicación. Se autoriza la reproducción total o parcial de los textos aquí publicados siempre y cuando se cite la fuente completa y la dirección electrónica de la publicación.