J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (12): 1681-1692.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00601.x

Special Issue: Ecology and Global Changes

• Bioenergy Plants • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Modeling Responses of Leafy Spurge Dispersal to Control Strategies

Zewei Miao   

  • Received:2006-01-14 Accepted:2006-10-02

Abstract: Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) has substantial negative effects on grassland biodiversity, productivity, and economic benefit in North America. To predict these negative impacts, we need an appropriate plant-spread model which can simulate the response of an invading population to different control strategies. In this study, using a stochastic map lattice approach we generated a spatially explicitly stochastic process-based model to simulate dispersal trajectories of leafy spurge under various control scenarios. The model integrated dispersal curve, propagule pressure, and population growth of leafy spurge at local and short-temporal scales to capture spread features of leafy spurge at large spatial and long-temporal scales. Our results suggested that narrow-, medium-, and fat-tailed kernels did not differ in their ability to predict spread, in contrast to previous works. For all kernels, Allee effects were significantly present and could explain the lag phase (three decades) before leafy spurge spread accelerated. When simulating from the initial stage of introduction, Allee effects were critical in predicting spread rate of leafy spurge, because the prediction could be seriously affected by the low density period of leafy spurge community. No Allee effects models were not able to simulate spread rate well in this circumstance. When applying control strategies to the current distribution, Allee effects could stop the spread of leafy spurge; no Allee effects models, however, were able to slow but not stop the spread. The presence of Allee effects had significant ramifications on the efficiencies of control strategies. For both Allee and no Allee effects models, the later that control strategies were implemented, the more effort had to be input to achieve similar control results.

Key words: Allee effects, dispersal curve, invasive species, non-indigenous, propagule pressure, stochastic process-based model.

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