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University of California Press
Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions / Edition 1

Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions / Edition 1

by Daniel Simberloff, Marcel Rejmanek


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This pioneering encyclopedia illuminates a topic at the forefront of global ecology—biological invasions, or organisms that come to live in the wrong place. Written by leading scientists from around the world, Encyclopedia of Biological
addresses all aspects of this subject at a global level—including invasions by animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria—in succinct, alphabetically arranged articles. Scientifically uncompromising, yet clearly written and free of jargon, the volume encompasses fields of study including biology, demography, geography, ecology, evolution, sociology, and natural history. Featuring many cross-references, suggestions for further reading, illustrations, an appendix of the world’s worst 100 invasive species, a glossary, and more, this is an essential reference for anyone who needs up-to-date information on this important topic.

Encyclopedia of Biological
features articles on:

• Well-known invasive species such the zebra mussel, chestnut blight, cheatgrass, gypsy moth, Nile perch, giant African snail, and Norway rat

• Regions with especially large numbers of introduced species including the Great Lakes, Mediterranean Sea, Hawaiian Islands, Australia, and New Zealand.

• Conservation, ecological, economic, and human and animal health impacts of invasions around the world

• The processes and pathways involved in invasion

• Management of introduced species

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520264212
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 01/02/2011
Series: Encyclopedias of the Natural World , #3
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 792
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 11.20(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Daniel Simberloff is Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His previous books include Ecological Communities: Conceptual Issues and the Evidence and Strangers in Paradise: Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida. Marcel Rejmánek is Professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis. Among other books and publications he coedited Plant
Invasions: General Aspects and Special Problems
and Biological
Invasions: A Global Perspective.

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Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions

By Daniel Simberloff, Marcel Rejmánek


Copyright © 2011 the Regents of the University of California
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-520-94843-3





University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Acclimatization societies were organizations formed by groups of like-minded but otherwise diverse individuals (aristocrats, landowners, biologists, agriculturalists, sportsmen, and others), whose mutual interest was the introduction of exotic animals and plants. These societies were formed to improve domestic stock, to supply additional food, to provide new game animals, to satisfy nostalgic yearnings, to control pests, and (in Russia) to substantiate the claims of evolutionists. They died out due to declining and unscientific membership, apathy by the public and scientific bodies, inadequate funding and dwindling revenues, increasingly strict legislation on the introduction of exotic species, and the growing realization that such introductions were ecologically unsound.


From the 1780s onward, Louis Jean Marie Daubenton (1716–1799) was responsible for the increasing involvement of the Jardin des Plantes du Roi in Paris in the study of economic zoology, including the acclimatization of exotic species for commercial and agricultural purposes. In 1793 the Jardin was converted into the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, which in turn was succeeded by the Jardin Zoologique d'Acclimatation.

In February 1854 a group of savants, under the chairmanship of then director Isidore Geoffroy Sainte-Hilaire (1772–1844), founded La Sociétié Zoologique d'Acclimatation for the introduction, acclimatization, and domestication of animals and for the cultivation of plants. Subsequently, satellite societies were formed in Grenoble, Nancy, Algeria, French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion.

The most important plant introduced by the Société to France was a new variety of potato from Australia, to combat the impact of the same blight, Phytophthora infestans, that had caused the potato famine in Britain and Ireland in the 1840s. The most potentially valuable animal importations were Chinese silkworms and various species of fish.

The principal achievements of the Société were the formation of a menagerie in Paris and the development of agricultural crops in metropolitan France and Algeria.

By the late 1860s, membership of the Société and visitors to the menagerie were in decline, and government subsidies and other revenue were dwindling. In 1901 the Société was declared insolvent.


The prime influence behind the acclimatization movement in Britain was Francis Trevelyan Buckland (1826–1880). At the time of his birth, Britain was still suffering from the economic consequences of the Napoleonic Wars of 1792–1815 and the Industrial Revolution. During this period, the corn harvests were exceptionally poor, and the wars hindered the importation of corn from abroad. The population, and the price of food, increased dramatically, and the rising labor pool helped to lower wages.

It was against this background that Buckland (Fig. 1) began to develop his interest in acclimatization. This was not new; a similar policy had been declared by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), founded in 1826.

The trigger for the founding of the Society for the Acclimatization of Animals, Birds, Fishes, Insects, and Vegetables within the United Kingdom was a dinner held in London in 1860, attended by Buckland and presided over by the distinguished zoologist Sir Richard Owen (1804–1892), at which eland Taurotragus (Tragelaphus) oryx from London Zoo was the principal dish. So impressed by the eland were Owen, Buckland, and the other guests that later that same year, the Society was founded, with Buckland as honorary secretary. Also in the same year (1860), a branch was formed in Scotland (Glasgow), and in 1861 in the Channel Islands (Guernsey).

In 1865, the Society, clearly in financial straits, merged with the Ornithological Society of London. A decline in membership and an apparent lack of interest by the council led in 1868 to the Society's demise.

The principal reasons for the ephemeral life of the Society were its failure to attract enough scientific members, most of whom were drawn from the aristocracy and gentry; its inability to gain adequate government funding; and a lack of facilities for keeping exotic species, most of which were entrusted to the care of individual members. These factors collectively jeopardized the Society's ability to differentiate itself from such competitors as the ZSL. Nor was the Society's progress furthered by the apathy on acclimatization shown by the public and the prestigious British Association for the Advancement of Science. In contrast to the French Société, which examined the commercial and economic benefits of acclimatization to all classes, the Society inclined to the introduction of species to benefit only the upper class. Furthermore, most of the species considered for acclimatization by the Society were wholly unsuitable for that purpose.


Acclimatization societies in Australia were formed in 1879 in New South Wales (in Sydney, having evolved from a society founded in 1852); in 1861 in Victoria (Melbourne); in 1862 in South Australia (Adelaide) and Queensland (Brisbane); in 1895 and 1899 in Tasmania (Hobart and Launceston, respectively); in 1896 in Western Australia (Perth); and at various provincial centers.

As in Algeria, the activities of acclimatization societies in Australia reached their zenith during the final days of protectionism, especially in such colonies as Victoria, which possessed the most important such society and which, even in the 1860s, depended on protective tariffs. A close parallel can be detected between the position and status of Victoria in the British Empire and Algeria in its French counterpart. The economy of both colonies was remarkably similar, and favorable tariffs on imports and government grants resulted in increasing interest in acclimatization. Algiers and Melbourne were both centers of rapid demographic growth.

In Australia, the acclimatization movement met with the same apathy as in Britain, based on the belief that the societies were acting in the interest of the privileged minority (Fig. 2).

The societies claimed that their introduction of insectivorous birds increased crop production, while pastoralists claimed that they consumed crops and displaced native birds. Deer provided sport and venison but damaged crops and trees. Eventually, many societies degenerated into importing species solely as curiosities or for ornamental purposes, and some metamorphosed into menageries. Few, if any, attempted to "improve" domestic stock or cultivars on which the prosperity of Australia depended. Those that survive are involved mainly with the introduction of fish.


The thirty or so acclimatization societies that were formed in New Zealand between the 1860s (the first in Nelson in 1861) and the early 1900s had, as in the case of many of those elsewhere, two principal objectives: the introduction of game animals for sport and insect-eating birds to control pests.

As in other countries, some of the New Zealand societies eventually failed due to lack of support and falling revenues, coupled with increasing public criticism. Founded and run, as in Britain, by enthusiastic amateurs, they were managed unprofessionally, and they failed to keep adequate records that would have shown their critics the value of revenue derived from visiting sportsmen and the benefit to crops.

After the Second World War, control of the societies by the government increased, and their operations became mainly confined to conservation; the promotion of sport; and, in a complete role reversal, the prevention of further introductions of nonnative species.

The main income of acclimatization societies in New Zealand today comes from the sale of sporting licenses; part of this income is used to acquire wetland habitats, fund research, and educate the public on conservation issues: the balance funds the societies' own conservation programs.


An interest in the acclimatization and domestication of nonnative animals and plants existed in Russia since at least the early 1840s and was led by the distinguished biologist Karl Frantsevich Rul'e (1814–1858).

The primary topic among scientists at the time was the immutability or mutability of species. Rul'e used the transformation of species through acclimatization, domestication, and cultivation to support the theory of mutability (evolution).

Under the leadership of Rul'e, the Imperial Russian Society for the Acclimatization of Animals and Plants was formed in Moscow in January 1864; branches were later established in St Petersburg, Khar'kov, and Orel.

After Rul'e's death, his successors, led by his protégé Anatoli Petrovich Bogdanov (1834–1896), continued his work. As early as 1856, Bogdanov and his colleagues had formulated the idea of establishing a scientifically based zoo in Moscow. Almost from the start, however, dissent broke out between those who gave preference to pure research and those who favored applied research in acclimatization, domestication, and hybridization. This controversy was soon overshadowed by the zoo's financial failure, though it rumbled on well into the twentieth century and had a profound effect on the development of Russian science. Thereafter, the Society began to stagnate, although outside its ranks, the interest in acclimatization actually increased, in particular in the translocation of native fur bearers and the widespread formation of many research sad (gardens).

By the early 1900s, it had become accepted within the Society that acclimatization must give way to conservation, and that the introduction of exotics could be actually harmful. By 1930 the Society had ceased to exist.

Although during its 65 years the Society failed to acclimatize (naturalize) any alien species in Russia, it did encourage local attempts in acclimatization of a wide range of, albeit as in Britain, wholly unsuitable, species.


Although since as early as 1846, songbirds, including the house sparrow Passer domesticus, were successfully released in the United States, the founding father of the acclimatization movement was a New York pharmacist, Eugene Schiefflin, who, with John Avery, in 1871 founded the American Acclimatization Society, which in 1877 successfully released the first European starlings Sturnus vulgaris in Central Park.

In 1873 Andrew Erkenbrecher formed the Cincinnati Society of Acclimatization, which in 1873–1874 unsuccessfully (except in the case of house sparrows) released in the city 21 alien bird species.

At about the same time, the Society for the Acclimatization of Foreign Birds was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1872–1874, it freed large numbers of goldfinches Carduelis carduelis, some of which survived until at least the turn of the century.

In Portland, Oregon, in 1880, C. F. Pfluger founded the Society for the Introduction of Useful Songbirds into Oregon (the Portland Songbird Club), which in 1889 and 1892 unsuccessfully (except in the case of the European starling) released 15 species.

These societies spawned several others throughout the United States, of which the Country Club of San Francisco was formed mainly to introduce brown trout Salmo trutta to California. It also dispatched chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha ova to New Zealand, where, under the name quinnat salmon, it became a popular game fish.

In 1884 the Cincinnati Society of Natural History rightly stated that the introduction of alien species was ecologically unsound, a pronouncement that seems to have sounded the death knell for acclimatization in the continental United States.


Although since 1865 private individuals had released in the Hawaiian Islands (then a territory of the United States) a number of bird species with varying degrees of success, it was not until 1930, under the presidency of Mrs. Frederick J. Lowery, that the Hui Manu (Hawaiian for "bird society") was formed, for the introduction of songbirds to the islands. In the same year, immigrants from Japan founded the Honolulu Mejiro (the national name of the Japanese white-eye Zosterops japonica) Society, specifically for the introduction of Japanese songbirds. Among the species successfully freed by these two organizations were northern mockingbirds Mimus polyglottos, white-rumped shamas Copsychus malabaricus, Japanese bush-warblers Cettia diphone, varied tits Parus varius, Japanese white-eyes, red-crested cardinals Paroaria coronata, northern cardinals Cardinalis cardinalis, red avadavats Amandava amandava, and black-headed mannikins or munias Lonchura malacca.

In 1968, diminishing funds and increasingly strict regulations about importing and releasing alien birds in the islands caused the Hui Manu to disband.


In 1858 the Akklimatisations-verein was formed in Berlin, and in 1861 the Società di Acclimazione in Palermo, Sicily.





Ecos Systems Institute, Stanardsville, Virginia

International agreements are used between or among national governments in order to establish mutual understanding, shared objectives, and, if legally binding, common law. Nearly 50 international agreements address some aspect of invasive species management, although the explicit prevention and control of invasive species is a relatively recent objective. International agreements focused on such issues as trade, agriculture, transportation, and energy have, however, inadvertently forged pathways for the spread of invasive species—likely for thousands of years. There is considerable need to strengthen the capacity of governments to implement international agreements on invasive species, as well as to raise awareness of the invasive species issue within the context of those international agreements that have substantial influence on the pathways of biological invasion.


International agreements take many forms:

Bilateral agreements exist between two governments, while multilateral agreements are made by three or more governments.

Legally binding agreements (generally referred to as treaties or conventions) must be observed and met in good faith; in contrast, nonbinding agreements (generally called "soft law"—e.g., codes of conduct) provide guidance but are not enforceable. Protocols are supplementary, often more specific, guidance within the context of legally binding agreements.

Regional agreements are made among neighboring countries and may include the distant protectorates of those neighboring countries.

Nongovernmental organizations (e.g., the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN]) may also develop guidelines or policy positions to inform negotiating parties.

The focus of international agreements may be relevant to a specific driver of biological invasion (e.g., climate change, trade, agriculture), a region (e.g., country or set of countries), an ecosystem (e.g., wetlands), or a species (e.g., migratory wild animals), or it may broadly encompass multiple dimensions of the issue.


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