Spatial spread of an alien tree species in a heterogeneous forest landscape: A spatially realistic simulation model

  • Sebert-Cuvillier E
  • Simon-Goyheneche V
  • Paccaut F
 et al. 
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The effect of environmental heterogeneity on spatial spread of invasive
species has received little attention in the literature. Altering
landscape heterogeneity may be a suitable strategy to control invaders
in man-made landscapes. We use a population-based, spatially realistic
matrix model to explore mechanisms underlying the observed invasion
patterns of an alien tree species, Prunus serotina Ehrh., in a heterogeneous
managed forest. By altering several parameters in the simulation,
we test for various hypotheses regarding the role of several mechanisms
on invasion dynamics, including spatial heterogeneity, seed dispersers,
site of first introduction, large-scale natural disturbances, and
forest management. We observe that landscape heterogeneity makes
the invasion highly directional resulting from two mechanisms: (1)
irregular jumps, which occur rarely via long-distance dispersers
and create new founder populations in distant suitable areas, and
(2) regular, continuous diffusion toward adjacent cells via short-
and mid-distance vectors. At the landscape scale, spatial heterogeneity
increases the invasion speed but decreases the final invasion extent.
Hence, natural disturbances (such as severe storms) appear to facilitate
invasion spread, while forest management can have contrasting effects
such as decreasing invasibility at the stand scale by increasing
the proportion of light interception at the canopy level. The site
of initial introduction influences the invasion process but without
altering the final outcome. Our model represents the real landscape
and incorporates the range of dispersal modes, making it a powerful
tool to explore the interactions between environmental heterogeneity
and invasion dynamics, as well as for managing plant invaders.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Compiègne forest (France)
  • Connectivity
  • Disturbance
  • Environmental heterogeneity
  • Forest management
  • Invasibility
  • Long-distance dispersal
  • Population-based matrix model
  • Prunus serotina
  • Resource availability

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  • Emmanuelle Sebert-Cuvillier

  • Valérie Simon-Goyheneche

  • Frédéric Paccaut

  • Olivier Chabrerie

  • Olivier Goubet

  • Guillaume Decocq

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