Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Assessing the invasion risk of Humulus scandens using ensemble species distribution modeling and habitat connectivity analysis.

Abstract

Given the rapid spread of invasive alien plant species in Europe and limited information regarding their distribution and dispersion patterns, we analyzed the invasive risk of Humulus scandens, a species with an increased invasive potential. We collected occurrence records from Romania within an EU funded project and literature data, in order to perform an ensemble distribution model. Environmental variables varied from downscaled topoclimatic continuous entries to categorical ones, such as soil class, texture, or land use. Results showed potential core areas of the species within the study region. By inverting the probability output of the models, we have created a resistance surface which helped us model its dispersion patterns. Further, we assessed the probability of invasion for each resulted corridor using the species dispersion ecology and created an invasion risk map. H. scandens is highly influenced by milder climates and areas with constant flooding events, thus we found that the Tisa basin and its tributaries can be under a high invasion risk, spreading through the entire catchment, in Central, Western, and Northern Romania, towards the Eastern Carpathians. The Danube acted as a dispersion corridor for major river systems in southern Romania, but the dispersion capability of the species dropped in steppe areas with higher aridity and limited water course network. This approach is useful for creating adequate action plans in relation to invasive alien plant species, and should urgently be regarded, as results show a potentially large distribution of H. scandens across entire water catchment areas, with devastating effects on natural ecosystems.