Risk Assessment and Invasion Characteristics of Alien Plants in and Around the Agro-Pastoral Ecotone of Northern China
Two risk assessment protocols were adopted to assess the risks posed by alien plants that naturalized or non-naturalized in the agro-pastoral ecotone of northern China (AGENC). In this study the Risk Assessment for Central Europe method revealed that more than two-thirds of the 19 naturalized and four-fifths of the 17 non-naturalized alien plants presented high or moderate risk, and all 36 alien plants were considered to be rejected for their potential agricultural and environmental risks under the Australian Weed Risk Assessment system. On the characteristics of plant invasions, more attention should be given to disturbed habitats rather than these relative natural or closed ecosystems, and also be prudent and careful of the alien plants that are introduced as useful plants from North or South America and unintentional introduction from Europe. Moreover, annuals needed special attention: three-quarters of the alien plants were annual species, only a few were biennial (8.3%), perennial (11.1%), liana and tree plants (2.8%). Plant invasions are not extremely serious in the AGENC, but there are several alien plants that have naturalized and spread themselves in the region. However, attention should be given in the future to predicting and preventing plant invasions in this fragile region.