Residence time determines invasiveness and performance of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in North America.
While biological invasions have the potential for large negative impacts on local communities and ecological interactions, increasing evidence suggests that species once considered major problems can decline over time. Declines often appear driven by natural enemies, diseases or evolutionary adaptations that selectively reduce populations of naturalised species and their impacts. Using permanent long-term monitoring locations, we document declines of Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) in eastern North America with distinct local and regional dynamics as a function of patch residence time. Projected site-specific population growth rates initially indicated expanding populations, but projected population growth rates significantly decreased over time and at the majority of sites fell below 1, indicating declining populations. Negative soil feedback provides a potential mechanism for the reported disappearance of ecological dominance of A. petiolata in eastern North America.