Ligustrum lucidum W. T. Aiton (broad-leaf privet) demonstrates climatic niche shifts during global-scale invasion.
Biological invasions are a major threat to global biodiversity. Ligustrum lucidum, native to temperate Asia, is one of the most invasive plant species in the world. Climate is an important ecological factor influencing species distribution. Therefore, we investigated the climatic niche of L. lucidum in various regions of the world to determine whether it uses different climatic conditions in its invasive ranges than in its native range. The geographical coordinates of its occurrence were extracted from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas databases. Climatic variables and altitude data were obtained from WorldClim. We evaluated niche overlap and performed niche similarity tests, and estimated niche shift parameters. L. lucidum occurs mostly in warm temperate climates. Niche overlap between native and invaded areas was low. Niche similarity tests indicated that the species could expand its occurrence into regions with climates similar to and different from that of its native range. We concluded that L. lucidum uses different realized climatic niches in its invasive ranges than in its native range. Warmer and wetter climatic conditions may not necessarily constrain this species from establishing populations outside of its native range.