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Invasive species in southern Nevada: Chapter 4 in The Southern Nevada Agency Partnership science and research synthesis: science to support land management in southern Nevada

January 1, 2013

Southern Nevada contains a wide range of topographies, elevations, and climactic zones emblematic of its position at the ecotone between the Mojave Desert, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau ecoregions. These varied environmental conditions support a high degree of biological diversity (Chapter 1), but they also provide opportunities for a wide range of invasive species. In addition, the population center of the Las Vegas valley, and the agricultural area scattered throughout Clark, Lincoln, and Nye counties, all connected by a network of roads and highways, plus ephemeral and perennial watercourses, provide abundant opportunities for new invaders to be transported into and within southern Nevada (Brooks 2009; Brookes and Lair 2009).

Invasive species are a concern for land managers because they can compete directly with native species (Brooks 2000; Chambers and others 2007; DeFlaco and others 2003, 2007; Mazzola and others 2010), change habitat conditions (Brooks and Esque 2002; Esque and others 2010; Miller and others 2011), and alter ecosystems properties (Brooks and Matchett 2006; Brooks and Pyke 2001; Evans and others 2001). Many invasive species have already established and spread to the point that they are now considered to pose significant problems in southern Nevada. However, there are likely many more than have wither not been transported to or colonized the region, or have established by for various reasons not spread or increased in abundance to the point where they have a significant impact. Land managers must understand both current and potential future problems posed by invasive species to appropriately prioritize management actions.

This chapter addressed Sub-goal 1.2 in the SNAP Science Research Strategy (table 1.3; Turner and others 2009), which is to protect southern Nevada's ecosystems from the adverse impacts of invasive species. It provides a brief overview of the key concepts associated with the ecology and management of invasive species, and includes information relevant to all five strategic goals identified by the National Invasive Species Council: prevention, early detection and rapid response, control and management, restoration, and organization collaboration (National Invasive Species Council 2001, 2008). Restoration also is discussed in a broader context in Chapter 5 and 7. This chapter does not present a comprehensive review of all invasive species associated land management issues in southern Nevada, but rather uses key species of concern to illustrate invasion ecology concepts and management strategies. It is focused on terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals, and does not address potential invasive taxa from the other Kingdoms. The information presented herein is intended to provide a foundation upon which land management plans can be developed and project-level decisions can be made relative to the management of invasive species in southern Nevada.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2013
Title Invasive species in southern Nevada: Chapter 4 in <i>The Southern Nevada Agency Partnership science and research synthesis: science to support land management in southern Nevada</i>
Authors Matthew L. Brooks, Steven M. Ostoja, Jeanne Chambers
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70123975
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center

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