Geographical distribution of the dispersal ability of alien plant species in China and its socio-climatic control factors.
Dispersal ability is important for the introduction, establishment, and spread of alien plant species. Therefore, determination of the geographical distribution of the dispersal ability of such species, and the relationship between dispersal ability and socio-climatic factors are essential to elucidate the invasion strategies of the alien plant species. Analytic hierarchy process and inventory, risk rank, and dispersal mode data available on Chinese alien plant species were used to determine their dispersal ability, the geographical distribution thereof, and the relationship between socio-climatic factors and dispersal ability. High-risk alien plant species had a higher natural dispersal ability (or several natural dispersal modes) but a lower anthropogenic dispersal ability (or few anthropogenic dispersal modes) than low-risk alien plant species. The geographical distribution of the dispersal ability of the alien plant species showed an inverse relationship with species density. Alien plant species with low dispersal ability (i.e., with fewer dispersal modes and distribution in the southeast) showed a tendency to adapt to environments with mild climates, while those with high dispersal ability (i.e., with more disposal nodes and distribution in the northwest) showed a tendency to adapt to harsh environments. It is essential for land managers and policy makers to understand the geographical distribution of the dispersal ability of alien plant species and their socio-climatic control factors to formulate strategies to control the natural and anthropogenic dispersal of such plants.