19. Oktober 2022

European Colonial Legacy Is Still Visible in Today’s Alien Floras


The movement of species around the globe has lasting impacts on biodiversity and human livelihoods far into the future


Vienna, Austria, 17th October, 2022: Alien floras in regions that were once occupied by the same European power are, on average, more similar to each other compared to outside regions and this similarity increases with the length of time a region was occupied. This is the conclusion of a study by an international team of researchers led by Bernd Lenzner and Franz Essl from the University of Vienna, which was recently published in the scientific journal „Nature Ecology and Evolution“.


The global redistribution of ‘alien species’, i.e. species originally not native in a specific geographic region, is closely linked to human movement which accelerated with the onset of European exploration and colonialism in the late 15th century. Back then, European powers introduced species mainly for economic reasons in order to ensure the survival of their population and to foster the establishment of settlements, next to aesthetic and nostalgic reasons. In particular, many plant species were introduced to and from the colonized regions for food, fodder or horticulture and have over time established ‘alien floras’ in these region.


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