Non-native invasive plant (NNIP) species can have significant effects on forest regeneration, structure, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat, costing billions of dollars annually. Understanding how NNIPs in the Midwest may spread in the future requires understanding their response to site and climate characteristics. Current research suggests climate change may influence invasive plant presence and spread. In this study, I modeled the relationship between invasive species presence, site characteristics (e.g. disturbance, live tree volume, city distance, edge distance, physiography, and type of water [e.g. streams] present on plot), and climate (annual average number of days the temperature is ≥ 90˚F and annual average number of days the temperature is ≤ 32˚F) for five non-native invasive plants (multiflora rose [Rosa multiflora], common buckthorn [Rhamnus cathartica], non-native bush honeysuckles [Lonicera spp.], garlic mustard [Alliaria petiolata], and reed canary grass [Phalaris arundinacea]) sampled by the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis program in seven Midwestern states for 2005-2006 Species’ response to site and temperature predictors varied due to trait differences such as shade tolerance and moisture affinity. For most species, presence was positively related to biotic disturbance (disease(s) and/or animal(s)) and mesic physiography and negatively related to distance from a city or a nonforest edge. The best predictor for the presence of NNIPs was annual average number of days the temperature is ≤ 32˚F, with all five species presence correlated with the annual average number of days the temperature is ≤ 32˚F. Understanding the effect of site characteristics and climate on NNIP distribution provides insights into important drivers of species presence at a regional scale and allows land managers, scientists, and concerned citizens to predict invasion risk and future ecosystem response.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. July 2010. Major: Natural Resources Science & Management. Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Montgomery. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 65 pages. Ill. maps(some col.)
Kurtz, Cassandra Marie.
Effects of site and climate characteristics on forest invasibility by non-native plants in the Midwest..
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