Xinjiang is a region which is the furthest region from the oceans and used to be an isolated area; Xinjiang is a poorly-known region for invasive species. Surprisingly we found the area has invaded by hundreds of alien species already and the economic and ecological impacts of those alien species are profound.





Biological invasion is one of the most threatening factors for biodiversity conservation. Lacking information on alien species in certain regions of the world hampers a balanced understanding of invasion processes and efficient data exchange among stakeholders. Current knowledge gaps are in need of urgent concern. We therefore conducted a review on alien animals in Xinjiang, an unknown region of invasion ecology. Xinjiang lies in the heartland of the Asian continent, covering an area of 1,664,900 km2. In the past 64 years, 128 alien animal species were recorded in this region, 39% of which became invasive and led to loss of native biodiversity. Most of these species were introduced through diversification of local agriculture and aquaculture. This process was aggravated by improving transportation and flourishing trade. Multiple linear regression models and correlation analysis were run for explaining influence of environmental and anthropogenic factors on status of alien animals: economically developed areas with abundant water resource, oases in particular, were prone to be hotspots of alien animal species in this arid and semi-arid region. This study also revealed that taxonomically biased and lagged research were critical problems that impeded studies on biological invasions in Xinjiang, and proposed feasible solutions.



Zhang L, Jiang Z. (2016) Unveiling the status of alien animals in the arid zone of Asia. PeerJ 4:e1545