Non-natives: plusses of invasion ecology

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Contrary to the implications of Mark Davis and colleagues (Nature 474, 153–154; 2011), invasion ecology has given us valuable insight into the effects of new species on ecological function and into some of the precipitous changes we may face in the coming decades.

Invasion ecologists generally assert that only a very small fraction of non-native species harm their new ecosystems. This position emerged as early as 1986 and was mainstream in the era that Davis and colleagues claim as the nadir of ecological nativism.

It is unfair to characterize any scientific discipline solely by past failures and to ignore its successes. Invasion ecology is making real progress with defining impact and characterizing risk. Let's not throw up our hands in despair just yet.

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Correspondence to Julie L. Lockwood.

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Lockwood, J., Hoopes, M. & Marchetti, M. Non-natives: plusses of invasion ecology. Nature 475, 36 (2011) doi:10.1038/475036c

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