An inventory of invasive alien species in China.
Invasive alien species (IAS) are a major global challenge requiring urgent action, and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) includes a target on the issue. Meeting the target requires an understanding of invasion patterns. However, national or regional analyses of invasions are limited to developed countries. We identified 488 IAS in China's terrestrial habitats, inland waters and marine ecosystems based on available literature and field work, including 171 animals, 265 plants, 26 fungi, 3 protists, 11 procaryots, and 12 viruses. Terrestrial plants account for 51.6% of the total number of IAS, and terrestrial invertebrates (104 species) for 21.3%. Of the total numbers, 67.9% of plant IAS and 34.8% of animal IAS were introduced intentionally. All other taxa were introduced unintentionally despite very few animal and plant species that invaded naturally. In terms of habitats, 64.3% of IAS occur on farmlands, 13.9% in forests, 8.4% in marine ecosystems, 7.3% in inland waters, and 6.1% in residential areas. Half of all IAS (51.1%) originate from North and South America, 18.3% from Europe, 17.3% from Asia not including China, 7.2% from Africa, 1.8% from Oceania, and the origin of the remaining 4.3% IAS is unknown. The distribution of IAS can be divided into three zones. Most IAS are distributed in coastal provinces and the Yunnan province; provinces in Middle China have fewer IAS, and most provinces in West China have the least number of IAS. Sites where IAS were first detected are mainly distributed in the coastal region, the Yunnan Province and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The number of newly emerged IAS has been increasing since 1850. The cumulative number of firstly detected IAS grew exponentially.