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Modeling disturbance-based native invasive species control and its implications for management
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Shifts in disturbance regime have often been linked to invasion in systems by native and nonnative species. This process can have negative effects on biodiversity and ecosystem function. Degradation may be ameliorated by the reinstatement of the disturbance regimes, such as the reintroduction of fire in pyrogenic systems. Modeling is one method through which potential outcomes of different regimes can be investigated. We created a population model to examine the control of a native invasive that is expanding and increasing in abundance due to suppressed fire. Our model, parameterized with field data from a case study of the tree Allocasuarina huegeliana in Australian sandplain heath, simulated different fire return intervals with and without the additional management effort of mechanical removal of the native invader. Population behavior under the different management options was assessed, and general estimates of potential biodiversity impacts were compared. We found that changes in fire return intervals made no significant difference in the increase and spread of the population. However, decreased fire return intervals did lower densities reached in the simulated heath patch as well as the estimated maximum biodiversity impacts. When simulating both mechanical removal and fire, we found that the effects of removal depended on the return intervals and the strategy used. Increase rates were not significantly affected by any removal strategy. However, we found that removal, particularly over the whole patch rather than focusing on satellite populations, could decrease average and maximum densities reached and thus decrease the predicted biodiversity impacts. Our simulation model shows that disturbance-based management has the potential to control native invasion in cases where shifted disturbance is the likely driver of the invasion. The increased knowledge gained through the modeling methods outlined can inform management decisions in fire regime planning that takes into consideration control of an invasive species. Although particularly applicable to native invasives, when properly informed by empirical knowledge these techniques can be expanded to management of invasion by nonnative species, either by restoring historic disturbance regimes or by instating novel regimes in innovative ways.
Journal: Ecological Applications
Pages: 1331 - 1344
Keywords:Environmental science & technology, Pure & applied ecology