Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Range size, local abundance and effect inform species descriptions at scales relevant for local conservation practice.

Abstract

Understanding species abundances and distributions, especially at local to landscape scales, is critical for land managers and conservationists to prioritize management decisions and informs the effort and expense that may be required. The metrics of range size and local abundance reflect aspects of the biology and ecology of a given species, and together with its per capita (or per unit area) effects on other members of the community comprise a well-accepted theoretical paradigm describing invasive species. Although these metrics are readily calculated from vegetation monitoring data, they have not generally (and effect in particular) been applied to native species. We describe how metrics defining invasions may be more broadly applied to both native and invasive species in vegetation management, supporting their relevance to local scales of species conservation and management. We then use a sample monitoring dataset to compare range size, local abundance and effect as well as summary calculations of landscape penetration (range size × local abundance) and impact (landscape penetration × effect) for native and invasive species in the mixed-grass plant community of western North Dakota, USA. This paper uses these summary statistics to quantify the impact for 13 of 56 commonly encountered species, with statistical support for effects of 6 of the 13 species. Our results agree with knowledge of invasion severity and natural history of native species in the region. We contend that when managers are using invasion metrics in monitoring, extending them to common native species is biologically and ecologically informative, with little additional investment.