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Landscape and connectivity metrics as a spatial tool to support invasive annual grass management decisions

January 27, 2023

The spatial patterns and context of invasions are increasingly recognized as important for successful and efficient management actions. Beyond mapping occurrence or percent cover in pixels, spatial summary information that describes the size and arrangement of patches in the context of a larger landscape (e.g., infested regions, connected patch networks) can add a depth of information for managing invasive grasses that threaten native ecosystems. Few invasive annual grass analyses have explored the use of landscape and circuit-based connectivity metrics to characterize and compare spatial patterns of invasion. To assess the transferability and applicability of these landscape ecology analyses, we calculated landscape metrics (4 area-based, 3 configuration) and a connectivity metric (circuit-based centrality), using a weighted-average map of invasive annual grass cover in the Great Basin, USA. We calculated metrics at local and regional scales, allowing invasion statistics to be compared across the landscape and illustrating varying patterns of invasion extent and connectedness. We found the metrics provided additional, complementary information at the sampled local and regional scales beyond abundance measures alone. We also illustrated how key metrics could be used to categorize and map areas needing different management strategies, for example, where strategies could proactively protect uninvaded cores, disconnect fine fuel patches, or contain established invasions. The landscape and connectivity metric approach can be applied across scales to spatially target patches locally, provide broader context within a single region, as well as to compare metrics and spatial variation in patterns among different regions.

Publication Year 2023
Title Landscape and connectivity metrics as a spatial tool to support invasive annual grass management decisions
DOI 10.1007/s10530-022-02945-w
Authors Erin K. Buchholtz, Julie A. Heinrichs, Michele R. Crist
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Biological Invasions
Index ID 70240770
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center