An overview of invasive woody plants in the tropics

Pierre Binggeli (in association with John B. Hall and J.R. Healey)


Using databases and associated literature, a review of invasive woody plants in the tropics and sub-tropics is presented. It focuses on information not readily available in published overviews on biological invasions.

Using data on 3579 bibliographical references and 653 invasive woody species, temporal, spatial, taxonomic and ecological trends and patterns are described. Data for the tropics and sub-tropics are compared to those of the world.

The importance of historical and socio-economic factors in the introduction and subsequent spread of exotic species is examined. The difficulty in identifying the taxonomic nature of an introduced plant, ascertaining whether a plant is native or alien and obtaining historical information is stressed.

Invasive tendencies of woody species and the predictability of a species becoming invasive are reviewed in relation to species characteristics, disturbance regimes and environmental factors. Time-lags between the introductions of tropical woody plants and their spread are investigated in more detail. Published evidence shows that major changes in a biotic factor (e.g. grazing, pollinator, seed disperser) or an abiotic (e.g. fire, wind, flood, logging) factor determines the duration of time-lag.

A list of 235 woody species in tropical and sub-tropical regions is presented with species listed according to life-form and degree of invasiveness. Eighteen species selected from the most highly invasive species category are investigated in greater detail in the form of short species accounts.

Download full report (PDF format)

Section 1    Title page, Table of contents, Summary and Introduction (16 kB)
Section 2    Overview of invasive woody plants and their comparative analysis (155 kB)
Section 3    Invasive woody plants in the tropics (89 kB)
Section 4    Provisional list of woody plant species invasive in the tropics (96 kB)
Section 5    Case histories of highly invasive woody species in the tropics (256 kB)
Section 6    Acknowledgements and bibliography (29 kB)

Download all as a ZIP file (138 kB)