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Ecology and space: A case study in mapping harmful invasive species

February 24, 2017

The establishment and invasion of non-native plant species have the ability to alter the composition of native species and functioning of ecological systems with financial costs resulting from mitigation and loss of ecological services. Spatially documenting invasions has applications for management and theory, but the utility of maps is challenged by availability and uncertainty of data, and the reliability of extrapolating mapped data in time and space. The extent and resolution of projections also impact the ability to inform invasive species science and management. Early invasive species maps were coarse-grained representations that underscored the phenomena, but had limited capacity to direct management aside from development of watch lists for priorities for prevention and containment. Integrating mapped data sets with fine-resolution environmental variables in the context of species-distribution models allows a description of species-environment relationships and an understanding of how, why, and where invasions may occur. As with maps, the extent and resolution of models impact the resulting insight. Models of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) across a variety of spatial scales and grain result in divergent species-environment relationships. New data can improve models and efficiently direct further inventories. Mapping can target areas of greater model uncertainty or the bounds of modeled distribution to efficiently refine models and maps. This iterative process results in dynamic, living maps capable of describing the ongoing process of species invasions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Ecology and space: A case study in mapping harmful invasive species
DOI 10.1007/978-94-024-1011-2
Authors David T. Barnett, Catherine S. Jarnevich, Geneva W. Chong, Thomas J. Stohlgren, Sunil Kumar, Tracy R. Holcombe
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70182515
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center; Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center