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Data from: Quantifying and linking mechanism scenarios to invasive species impact

Cite this dataset

Cadotte, Marc (2022). Data from: Quantifying and linking mechanism scenarios to invasive species impact [Dataset]. Dryad.


Plant species invasion represents one of the major drivers of biodiversity change globally, yet there is confusion about the nature of non-indigenous species (NIS) impact. This stems from differing notions of what constitutes invasive species impact and the scales at which it should be assessed. At local scales, the mechanisms of impact on local competitors can be classified into four scenarios: 1) minimal impact from NIS inhabiting unique niches; 2) neutral impact spread across the community and proportional to NIS abundance; 3) targeted impact on a small number of competitors with overlapping niches; and 4) pervasive impact that is disproportionate to NIS abundance and caused by modifications that filter out other species. I developed a statistical test to distinguish these four mechanism scenarios based on plant community rank-abundance curves and then created a scale-independent standardized impact score. Using an example long-term dataset, that has high native plant diversity and an abundance gradient of the invasive vine, Vincetoxicum rossicum, I show that impact resulted in either targeted or pervasive extirpations. Regardless of whether NIS impact is neutral, targeted, or pervasive, the net outcome will be the homogenization of ecosystems and reduced biodiversity at larger scales, perhaps reducing ecosystem resilience. The framework and statistical evaluation of impact presented in this paper provide researchers and managers with an objective approach to quantifying NIS impact and prioritizing species for further management actions.


Twenty-five, 1x1 m2 plots at each of 14 sites at the Rouge Urban National Park in Canada. We estimated percent cover and identify plant species in 2013 and 2019. (for methodological details, see: Livingstone et al. 2020).

Livingstone, Stuart; Isaac, Marney; Cadotte, Marc (2020), Data from: Invasive dominance and resident diversity: unpacking the impact of plant invasion on biodiversity and ecosystem function, Dryad, Dataset,


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council