Predicting current and future global distribution of invasive Ligustrum lucidum (W.T. Aiton): assessing emerging risks to biodiversity hotspots

Lia Montti, Santiago José Elías Velazco, Justin Travis* (Corresponding Author), Chilo Grau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim
Biological invasions represent one of the main anthropogenic drivers of global change with a substantial impact on biodiversity. This impact can be particularly acute in biodiversity hotspots. Ligustrum lucidum W.T. Aiton is a tree species native of China that, from as early as the eighteenth century, has been introduced broadly around the globe, becoming a serious invasive species. We aim to predict L. lucidum's current and future potential distributions at a global scale and assess the degree to which biodiversity hotspots are at risk of invasion.

Location
All continents.

Methods
Using global presence data, climatic and edaphic variables, we developed an ensemble model to predict current and future periods (2050 and 2080) global distribution of L. lucidum. Susceptible countries and hotspots of biodiversity were identified.

Results
Important regions within China and neighbouring countries are likely to be environmentally suitable, but they are not currently occupied. Biodiversity hotspots in South America are highlighted as being at current risk of invasion. Notably, climate change may increase risks across large extents of biodiversity hotspots, mainly in South America and Africa, especially by 2080 period.

Main conclusions
Current and future potential distribution of L. lucidum overlaps with biodiversity hotspots worldwide. Control of L. lucidum is a challenge once established. Thus, species distribution modelling helps to identify risk areas, guiding their early detection in current or future suitable areas. Our findings can be useful as a guide to develop region-specific invasion management strategies to prevent and/or control this species' spread.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Early online date3 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • biodiversity threat
  • biological invasion
  • ecological forecast
  • ensemble model
  • glossy privet
  • species distribution model

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