• Michael J. Crawley


The native flora of London has declined inexorably since the Roman occupation, as natural habitats were built-over or dumped upon. The species ­richness of surviving fragments of semi-natural vegetation has declined under the interacting effects of drainage, trampling, acidification, eutrophication, dog-fouling, harvesting and botanical collection. However, the decline in native species has been matched by a steady increase in the number of alien species. London’s important alien species evolved in far-flung corners of the globe (for example, Buddleja davidiiin China, Conyza sumatrensis in South America, Epilobium ciliatum in North America and Crassula helmsii in New Zealand), yet they come together to form strange new plant communities. The replacement of native by alien flora might be the despair of conservationists, but the dynamics of extinction and invasion are endlessly fascinating to those of us who describe ourselves as urban botanists.


Alien Species Alien Plant Robinia Pseudoacacia Juglans Regia Street Tree 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Imperial College LondonBerkshireEngland

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