Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 27
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Adams, Vanessa M. and Setterfield, Samantha A. 2016. Approaches to strategic risk analysis and management of invasive plants: lessons learned from managing gamba grass in northern Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology, Vol. 22, Issue. 2, p. 189.

    Ballari, Sebastián A. Anderson, Christopher B. and Valenzuela, Alejandro E. J. 2016. Understanding trends in biological invasions by introduced mammals in southern South America: a review of research and management. Mammal Review, Vol. 46, Issue. 3, p. 229.

    de Santana, Bruna Farias Voeks, Robert A. and Funch, Ligia Silveira 2016. Ethnomedicinal survey of a maroon community in Brazil's Atlantic tropical forest. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol. 181, p. 37.

    Dodd, Aaron J. McCarthy, Michael A. Ainsworth, Nigel and Burgman, Mark A. 2016. Identifying hotspots of alien plant naturalisation in Australia: approaches and predictions. Biological Invasions, Vol. 18, Issue. 3, p. 631.

    Linderholm, Anna Spencer, Daisy Battista, Vincent Frantz, Laurent Barnett, Ross Fleischer, Robert C. James, Helen F. Duffy, Dave Sparks, Jed P. Clements, David R. Andersson, Leif Dobney, Keith Leonard, Jennifer A. and Larson, Greger 2016. A novelMC1Rallele for black coat colour reveals the Polynesian ancestry and hybridization patterns of Hawaiian feral pigs. Royal Society Open Science, Vol. 3, Issue. 9, p. 160304.

    Boppré, Michael and Colegate, Steven M. 2015. Recognition of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid Esters in the Invasive Aquatic PlantGymnocoronis spilanthoides(Asteraceae). Phytochemical Analysis, Vol. 26, Issue. 3, p. 215.

    Dodd, Aaron J. Burgman, Mark A. McCarthy, Michael A. Ainsworth, Nigel and Duncan, Richard 2015. The changing patterns of plant naturalization in Australia. Diversity and Distributions, Vol. 21, Issue. 9, p. 1038.

    Head, Lesley Larson, BrendonM.H. Hobbs, Richard Atchison, Jennifer Gill, Nick Kull, Christian and Rangan, Haripriya 2015. Living with Invasive Plants in the Anthropocene: The Importance of Understanding Practice and Experience. Conservation and Society, Vol. 13, Issue. 3, p. 311.

    Santo, Anna R. Sorice, Michael G. Donlan, C. Josh Franck, Christopher T. and Anderson, Christopher B. 2015. A human-centered approach to designing invasive species eradication programs on human-inhabited islands. Global Environmental Change, Vol. 35, p. 289.

    Tassin, Jacques and Kull, Christian A. 2015. A melting pot world of species: reply to Speziale et al.. Conservation Biology, Vol. 29, Issue. 2, p. 593.

    CLAVERO, MIGUEL 2014. Shifting Baselines and the Conservation of Non-Native Species. Conservation Biology, Vol. 28, Issue. 5, p. 1434.

    dos Santos, Lucilene Lima do Nascimento, André Luiz Borba Vieira, Fábio José da Silva, Valdeline Atanázio Voeks, Robert and Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino 2014. The Cultural Value of Invasive Species: A Case Study from Semi–Arid Northeastern Brazil. Economic Botany, Vol. 68, Issue. 3, p. 283.

    Ianni, Elena Silva Rivera, Evodia and Geneletti, Davide 2014. Sustaining cultural and biological diversity in rapidly changing communities: the revitalization of the Voladores ritual in northern Veracruz (Mexico). Environment, Development and Sustainability, Vol. 16, Issue. 6, p. 1197.

    SPEZIALE, KARINA L. LAMBERTUCCI, SERGIO A. SOUTO, CINTIA P. and HIRALDO, FERNANDO 2014. Recovering Native Culture in a World of Non-native Species. Conservation Biology, Vol. 28, Issue. 4, p. 1129.

    Babarro, JMF and Abad, MJ 2013. Co-existence of two mytilid species in a heterogeneous environment: mortality, growth and strength of shell and byssus attachment. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 476, p. 115.

    Hankins, Don L 2013. The effects of indigenous prescribed fire on riparian vegetation in central California. Ecological Processes, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, p. 24.

    Sponsel, Leslie E. 2013. Encyclopedia of Biodiversity.

    Voggesser, Garrit Lynn, Kathy Daigle, John Lake, Frank K. and Ranco, Darren 2013. Cultural impacts to tribes from climate change influences on forests. Climatic Change, Vol. 120, Issue. 3, p. 615.

    Hazlett, Donald L. and Torres-Herrera, Jennifer C. 2012. Socioeconomic Value and Growth of Naturalized Musa balbisiana L. A. Colla Leaves in Honduras. Economic Botany, Vol. 66, Issue. 1, p. 60.

    Jernigan, Kevin 2012. Plants with Histories: The Changing Ethnobotany of Iquito Speakers of the Peruvian Amazon. Economic Botany, Vol. 66, Issue. 1, p. 46.


Biological invasions and biocultural diversity: linking ecological and cultural systems

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 December 2008

Study of the ecological and economic effects of invasive species has paralleled their progressively pervasive influence worldwide, yet their cultural impacts remain largely unexamined and therefore unrecognized. Unlike biological systems, where the ecological consequences of biological invasions are primarily negative, from an ethnoscientific standpoint, invasive species' impacts on cultural systems span a range of effects. Biological invasions affect cultural groups in myriad, often unpredictable and at times contradictory ways. This review groups case studies into a conceptual matrix suggesting three categorically different cultural impacts of invasive species. Culturally impoverishing invasive species precipitate the loss or replacement of culturally important native species and their associated cultural practices. Culturally enriching invasive species augment cultural traditions, through their inclusion in lexicons, narratives, foods, pharmacopoeias and other tangible and intangible ends. Culturally facilitating invasive species can provide continuity and reformulation of traditional ethnobiological practices. An understanding of the processes by which invasive biota become culturally enriching, facilitating, or impoverishing can contribute to articulating interdisciplinary programmes aimed at simultaneously conserving biological and cultural diversity.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr Jeanine Pfeiffer e-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

D.H. Alderman (2004) Channing Cope and the making of a miracle vine. The Geographical Review 94 (2): 157177.

A. Ankli , O. Sticher & M. Heinrich (1999) Medical ethnobotany of the Yucatec Maya: healers consensus as a quantitative criterion. Economic Botany 53: 144160.

Asia Forest Network (2007) Research Network report # 8. Facilitating collaborative planning in Hawaii's Natural Area Reserves [www document]. URL

A. Begossi , N. Hanazaki & J. Tamashiro (2002) Medicinal plants in the Atlantic forest (Brazil): knowledge, use, and conservation. Human Ecology 30: 281299.

W. Beinart & K. Middleton (2004) Plant transfers in historical perspective: a review article. Environment and History 10: 329.

L.E. Bendixen & U.B. Nandihalli (1987) Worldwide distribution of purple and yellow nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus and C. esculentus). Weed Technology 1: 6165.

B.C. Bennet & G.T. Prance (2000) Introduced plants in indigenous pharmacopoeias. Economic Botany 54 (1): 90102.

B. Berlin , E.A. Berlin , J. Ugalde , L.G. Barrios , D. Puett , R. Nash & R. González-Espinoza (1999) The Maya ICBG: drug discovery, medical ethnobotany, and alternative forms of economic development in the highland Maya region in Chiapas, Mexico. Pharmaceutical Biology 37: 127144.

S. Bindell (1996) Hopi wetlands endangered. News from Native Country 10 (15): 1.

I. Blanckaert , K. Vancraeynest , R. Swennen , F. Espinosa-Garcia , D. Pinero & R. Lira-Saade (2007) Non-crop resources and the role of indigenous knowledge in semi-arid production of Mexico. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 119: 3948.

T.M. Bonnicksen , M.K. Anderson , C.E. Kay , R. Knudson , & H.T. Lewis (1999) Native American influences on the development of forest ecosystems in ecological stewardship: a common reference for ecosystem management. In: Ecological Stewardship: A Common Reference for Ecosystem Management, Volume III, ed. N.C Johnson , A.L Malk , W.T Sexton & R. Szaro , pp. 439470. New York: Elsevier Science.

C. Bright (1998) Life Out of Bounds: Bioinvasion in a Borderless World. New York, NY, USA: W.W. Norton/Earthscan.

H.M. Carey & D. Roberts (2002) Smallpox and the Baiame Waganna of Wellington Valley, New South Wales, 1829–1840: the earliest nativist Movement in Aboriginal Australia. Ethnohistory 49 (4): 821869.

R. Chazdon & F.G. Coe (1999) Ethnobotany of woody species in second-growth, old-growth, and selectively logged forests of northeastern Costa Rica. Conservation Biology 13: 13121322.

N. Clayton (2003) Weeds, people, and contested places. Environment and History 9 (3): 301331.

R.I. Colautti & H.J. MacIsaac (2004) A neutral terminology to define ‘invasive’ species. Diversity and Distributions 10: 135141.

A. Crosby (1972) The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. Westport, CN, USA: Greenwood Press.

A. Crosby (1994) Germs, Seeds, and Animals: Studies in Ecological History. Armonk, NY, USA: Sharpe.

M.P. Crosby , G. Brighouse & M. Pichon (2002) Priorities and strategies for addressing natural and anthropogenic threats to coral reefs in Pacific Island Nations. Ocean and Coastal Management 45: 121137.

S. Díaz , J. Fargione , F.S. Chapin III & D. Tilman (2006) Biodiversity loss threatens human well-being. PloS Biology 4 (8): e277.

Environment Waikato (2006) Pests affect our cultural heritage [www document]. URL

D. Fordham , A. Georges , B. Corey & B.W. Brook (2006) Feral pig predation threatens the indigenous harvest and local persistence of snake-necked turtles in northern Australia. Biological Conservation 133 (3): 379388.

D.P. Garrity , M. Soekardi , M. van Noordwijk , R. de la Cruz , P. Pathak , H. Gunasena , N. van So , G. Huijun & N. Majid (1997) The Imperata grasslands of tropical Asia: area, distribution, and typology. Agroforestry Systems 36: 329.

P. Gepts (2005) Introduction of transgenic crops in centers of origin and domestication. In: Controversies in Science and Technology: From Maize to Menopause, ed. D. L. Kleinman , A.J. Kinchy & J. Handelsman . pp. 119134. Madison, WI, USA: University of Wisconsin Press.

K. Gerwing & T. McDaniels (2006) Listening to the salmon people: coastal First Nations' objectives regarding salmon aquaculture in British Columbia. Society and Natural Resources 19 (3): 259273.

D.R. Given (1995) Forging a biodiversity conservation ethic in a multicultural context. Biodiversity and Conservation 4: 877–891.

R.J. González (2001) Zapotec Science: Farming and Food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca. Austin, TX, USA: University of Texas Press.

J.A. Grim , ed. (2001) Indigenous Traditions and Ecology: The Interbeing of Cosmology and Community. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.

R.W. Hamilton , ed. (2003) The Art of Rice: Spirit and Sustenance in Asia. Los Angeles, CA, USA: UCLA Fowler Museum.

S. Helmreich (2005) How scientists think; about ‘natives’ for example. A problem of taxonomy among biologists of alien species in Hawaii. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11: 107128.

A. Henkel (1904) Weeds used in medicine. USDA Farmers' Bulletin 188: 145.

M.S. Hoddle (2004) Restoring balance: using exotic species to control invasive exotic species. Conservation Biology 18 (1): 3849.

J.D. Hughes (2003) Europe as consumer of exotic biodiversity: Greek and Roman times. Landscape Research 28 (1): 2131.

K.D. Janni & J.W. Bastien (2004) Exotic botanicals in the Kallawaya pharmacopoeia. Economic Botany 58 (Suppl.): S274S279.

P. Jones (1994) Just Weeds: History, Myths and Uses. Shelburne, VT, USA: Chapters Publishing.

N.L. Judd , C. Drew , C. Acharya , Marine Resources for Future Generations, T. Mitchell , J. Donatuto , G. Burna , T. Burbacher & E. Faustman (2005) Framing scientific analyses for risk management of environmental hazards by communities: case studies with seafood safety issues. Environmental Health Perspectives 113 (11): 15021508.

W.S. Kirkham (2004) Situating the Merremia pelata invasion in Samoa.Geographical Review 94 (2): 218228.

B. Larson (2005) The war of the roses: demilitarizing invasion biology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3 (9): 495500.

B. Larson (2007) An alien approach to invasive species: objectivity and society in invasion biology. Biological Invasions 9 (8): 947956.

D.R. Lewis (1995) Native Americans and the environment: a survey of twentieth-century issues. American Indian Quarterly 19 (3): 423450.

C. Lydeard , R. Cowie , W. Ponder , A. Bogan , P. Bouchet , S. Clark , K. Cummings , T. Frest , O. Gargominy , D. Herbert , R. Hershler , K. Perez , B. Roth , M. Seddon , E. Strong & F. Thompson 2004) The global decline of nonmarine mollusks. BioScience 54 (4): 321330.

R.N. Mack , D. Simberloff , W.M. Lonsdale , H. Evans , M. Clout & F.A. Bazzaz (2000) Biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecological Applications 10 (3): 689710.

R.N. Mack & W.M. Lonsdale (2001) Humans as global plant dispersers: getting more than we bargained for. BioScience 51 (2): 95102.

L.A. Maguire (2004) What can decision analysis do for invasive species management? Risk Analysis 24 (4): 859868.

S. Mensing & R. Byrne (1998) Pre-mission invasion of Erodium cicutarium in California. Journal of Biogeography 25: 757762.

P. Mitchell (2003) The archaeological study of epidemic and infectious disease. World Archaeology 35 (2): 171179.

J.L. Molnar , R.L. Gamboa , C. Revenga & M.D. Spalding (2008) Assessing the global threat of invasive species to marine biodiversity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6 doi:10.1890/0700064.

K. Monk , Y. de Fretes & G. Reksodiharjo-Lilley (1997) The Ecology of Nusa Tenggara and Maluku. Singapore: Periplus Editions.

R. Naylor , K. Hindar , I. Fleming , R. Goldburg , S. Williams , J. Volpe , F. Whoriskey , J. Eagle , D. Kelso & M. Mangel 2005) Fugitive salmon: assessing the risks of escaped fish from net-pen aquaculture. BioScience 55 (5): 427437.

M. Ngobo , M. MacDonald & S. Weise (2004) Impacts of type of fallow and invasion by Chromolaena odorata on weed communities in crop fields in Cameroon. Ecology and Society 29(1): 1 [www document]. URL

I. Nesheim , S. Dhillion & K. Stølen (2006) What happens to traditional knowledge and use of natural resources when people migrate? Human Ecology 34: 99131.

M.A. Nuñez & D. Simberloff (2005) Invasive species and the cultural keystone species concept. Ecology and Society 10(1): r4 [www document]. URL:

W. O'Brien (2006) Exotic invasions, nativism, and ecological restoration: on the persistence of a contentious debate. Ethics, Place and Environment 9 (1): 6377.

A. Occhipinti-Ambrogi & D. Savini (2003) Biological invasions as a component of global change in stressed marine ecosystems. Marine Pollution Bulletin 46 (5): 542551.

J. Olden , M.E. Douglas & M.R. Douglas (2005) The human dimensions of biotic homogenization. Conservation Biology 19 (6): 20362038.

W.L.R. Oliver ed. (1993) Pigs, Peccaries and Hippos Status Survey and Action Plan. IUCN, Geneva, Switzerland [www document]. URL

M. O'Malley (2002) Recognizing Illnesses Related to Forestry Herbicides. Sacramento, CA, USA: California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

D.K. Padilla & S.L. Williams (2004) Beyond ballast water: aquarium and ornamental trades as sources of invasive species in aquatic ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: 2 (3): 131138.

C.T. Palmer (2004) The inclusion of recently introduced plants in the Hawaiian ethnopharmacopoeia. Economic Botany 58 (Suppl): S280S293.

J.M. Pfeiffer , S. Dun , B. Mulawarman & K.J. Rice (2006) Biocultural diversity in traditional rice-based agroecosystems: indigenous research and conservation of mavo (Oryza sativa L.) upland rice landraces of eastern Indonesia. Environment, Development, and Sustainability 8 (4): 609625.

D. Pimentel , ed. (2002) Biological Invasions: Economic and Environmental Costs of Alien Plant, Animal, and Microbe Species. Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press.

L.M. Potter (1997) The dynamics of Imperata: historical overview and current farmer perspectives, with special reference to South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Agroforestry Systems 36: 3151.

L. Potter , J. Lee & K. Thorburn (2000) Reinventing Imperata: revaluing alang-alang grasslands in Indonesia. Development and Change 31 (5): 10371053.

C. Pui & W. Evans (1998) Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. New England Journal of Medicine 339: 605615.

K.H. Redford & J.P. Brosius (2006) Diversity and homogenization in the endgame. Global Environmental Change 16 (4): 317319.

M.A. Rifai & E.A. Widjaja (1979) An ethnobotanical observation on alang-alang (Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.) in Bali. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Asian Pacific Weed Society Conference, Volume II, pp. 610–613. Jakarta, Indonesia: Asian-Pacific Weed Society.

D.M. Rizzo & M. Garbelotto (2003) Sudden oak death: endangering California and Oregon forest ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: 1 (4): 197204.

P. Robbins (2004) Comparing invasive networks: cultural and political biographies of invasive species. The Geographical Review 94 (2): 139156.

C.J. Robinson , D. Smyth & P.J. Whitehead (2005) Bush tucker, bush pets, and bush threats: cooperative management of feral animals in Australia's Kakadu National Park. Conservation Biology 18 (5): 13851391.

S.T. Ross (1991) Mechanisms structuring stream assemblages: are there lessons from introduced species? Environmental Biology of Fishes 30: 359368.

M. Sagoff (2005) Do non-native species threaten the natural environment? Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18 (3): 215236.

A.B. Samuelsen (2000) The traditional uses, chemical constituents and biological activities of Plantago major L.: a review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 71: 121.

D. Sandhu & M. Heinrich (2005) The use of health foods, spices, and other botanicals in the Sikh community in London. Phytotherapy Research 19: 633642.

D.F. Sax , J. Stachowicz , J. Brown , J. Bruno , M. Dawson , S. Gaines , R. Grosberg , A. Hastings , R. Holt , M. Mayfield , M. O'Conner & W. Rice (2007) Ecological and evolutionary insights from species invasions. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution 22 (9): 467471.

E. Shaw (1992) Plants of the New World: The First 150 Years. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard College Library.

F.P. Shepard (1954) Nomenclature based on sand-silt-clay rations. Journal of Sedimentary Research 24 (3): 151158.

D. Simberloff (2003) Confronting introduced species: a form of xenophobia? Biological Invasions 5: 179192.

D. Simberloff , I.M. Parker & P.N. Windle (2005) Introduced species policy, management, and future research needs. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3 (1): 1220.

D.D. Soejarto & N.R. Farnsworth (1989) Tropical rain forests: Potential source of new drugs? Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 32: 244256.

D. Soleri & D.A. Cleveland (2006) Transgenic maize and Mexican maize diversity: risky synergy? Agriculture and Human Values 23 (1): 2731.

J. Stannard (1972) Greco-Roman materia medica in medieval Germany. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 46: 455468.

J.R. Stepp (2004) The role of weeds as sources of pharmaceuticals. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 92: 163166.

J.R. Stepp , F.S. Wyndham & R.K. Zarger , eds (2002) Ethnobiology and Biocultural Diversity. Athens, GA, USA: The International Society of Ethnobiology.

D.R. Towns , I.A.E. Atkinson & C. Daughtery (2006) Have the harmful effects of rats on islands been overexaggerated? Biological Invasions 8: 863891.

N.J. Turner , I.J. Davidson-Hunt & M. O'Flaherty (2003) Living on the edge: ecological and cultural edges as sources of diversity for social-ecological resilience. Human Ecology 31 (3): 439461.

S. Underwood , L. Arguello & N. Siefkin (2003) Restoring ethnographic landscapes and natural elements in Redwood National Park. Ecological Restoration 21 (4): 278283.

USDA-NRCS (2008) Fremont's cottonwood: Populus fremontii S. Wats. Plant guide [www document]. URL

US-EPA (2003) Chemehuevi Indian tribe Lake Havasu Beach non-native species removal project. In: Success Stories 2003 – Tribal Nonpoint Source Program. Government document EPA 909-R-03-004 [www document]. URL

L. Vierya-Odilon & H. Vibrans (2001) Weeds as crops: the value of maize weeds in the valley of Toluca, Mexico. Economic Botany 55 (3): 426443.

R.A. Voeks (1996) Tropical forest healers and habitat preference. Economic Botany 50: 354373.

R.A. Voeks & S. Nyawa (2001) Healing flora of the Brunei Dusun. Borneo Research Bulletin 32: 178195.

A. Waldstein (2006). Mexican migrant ethnopharmacology: Pharmacopoeia, classification of medicines, and explanations of efficacy. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 108: 299310.

C.R. Warren (2007) Perspectives on the ‘alien’ versus ‘native’ species debate: a critique of concepts, language and practice. Progress in Human Geography 31 (4):427446.

L. Warren (1996) Seeing the people for the trees: the promises and pitfalls of Indian environmental history. OAH Magazine of History 10 (3): 1823.

S.K. Wertz (2005) Maize: the Native North American's legacy of biological and cultural diversity. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18: 131156.

J. Williams & C. West (2000) Environmental weeds in Australia and New Zealand: issues and approaches to management. Austral Ecology 25: 425444.

R.L. Wirsing (1985) The health of traditional societies and the effects of acculturation. Current Anthropology 26 (3): 303322.

M. Woods & P.V. Moriarity (2001) Strangers in a strange land: the problem of exotic species. Environmental Values 10: 163191.

H.G. Zimmermann , V.C. Moran & J.H. Hoffman (2000) The renowned cactus moth, Cactoblastic cactorum: its natural history and threat to native Opuntia floras in Mexico and the United States of America. Diversity and Distributions 6: 259269.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *