Multidimensional Spatial Characterization of Plant Invasions in 'El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar' Biosphere Reserve

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194610
Title:
Multidimensional Spatial Characterization of Plant Invasions in 'El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar' Biosphere Reserve
Author:
Sanchez Flores, Erick.
Issue Date:
2006
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Invasive species are considered an agent of ecological change with more significant effects than global warming. Exotic plant invasions threaten biodiversity and ecosystem viability worldwide. Their effects in the Sonoran Desert ecosystems are a growing concern among ecologists and land managers. We hypothesized that highly dynamic desert environments are unstable, therefore more vulnerable to invasion by exotic plant species. To test this hypothesis we used a multidimensional approach to assess the spatial distribution of two exotic species: Brassica tournefortii (Saharan mustard) and Schismus arabicus (Arabian grass), in a portion of 'El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar' Biosphere Reserve (PBR) in northwestern Sonora, Mexico. This approach combined genetic algorithms, geographic information systems, field methods, statistical analysis, and remote sensing modeling at multiple spatial and temporal scales to predict and test the current and potential distribution of the invasives over dynamic landscapes.Predicted probability of invasion was influenced strongly by human factors: Road networks were the strongest predictors of presence, revealing the potential importance of humans as vectors of invasiveness. Dynamic landscapes, associated mostly with vegetation losses, were detected spectrally in the eastern portion of the study area, very likely associated with past agricultural and current grazing activity. Combined models of high probability for invasion by B. tournefortii and S. arabicus over dynamic landscapes were tested against confirmed locations of the invasives and land cover types associated with invasion. Results confirmed the hypothesis of the study and suggest that more dynamic landscapes are more prone to invasion by these two exotic plants in the PBR. B. tournefortii was found associated mostly with landscapes occupied by microphyllous desert scrub and grassland, as well as sarcocaulescent desert scrub. S. arabicus was found more abundantly in the flat low lands occupied by microphyllous and crassicaulescent desert scrub. These relationships cannot, however, be conclusive and require further investigation due to the complex ecology of these invasives.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Invasive plants; GARP; CVA; Landscape dynamics; 'El Pinacate' Biosphere Reserve
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Geography; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Yool, Stephen R.
Committee Chair:
Yool, Stephen R.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleMultidimensional Spatial Characterization of Plant Invasions in 'El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar' Biosphere Reserveen_US
dc.creatorSanchez Flores, Erick.en_US
dc.contributor.authorSanchez Flores, Erick.en_US
dc.date.issued2006en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractInvasive species are considered an agent of ecological change with more significant effects than global warming. Exotic plant invasions threaten biodiversity and ecosystem viability worldwide. Their effects in the Sonoran Desert ecosystems are a growing concern among ecologists and land managers. We hypothesized that highly dynamic desert environments are unstable, therefore more vulnerable to invasion by exotic plant species. To test this hypothesis we used a multidimensional approach to assess the spatial distribution of two exotic species: Brassica tournefortii (Saharan mustard) and Schismus arabicus (Arabian grass), in a portion of 'El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar' Biosphere Reserve (PBR) in northwestern Sonora, Mexico. This approach combined genetic algorithms, geographic information systems, field methods, statistical analysis, and remote sensing modeling at multiple spatial and temporal scales to predict and test the current and potential distribution of the invasives over dynamic landscapes.Predicted probability of invasion was influenced strongly by human factors: Road networks were the strongest predictors of presence, revealing the potential importance of humans as vectors of invasiveness. Dynamic landscapes, associated mostly with vegetation losses, were detected spectrally in the eastern portion of the study area, very likely associated with past agricultural and current grazing activity. Combined models of high probability for invasion by B. tournefortii and S. arabicus over dynamic landscapes were tested against confirmed locations of the invasives and land cover types associated with invasion. Results confirmed the hypothesis of the study and suggest that more dynamic landscapes are more prone to invasion by these two exotic plants in the PBR. B. tournefortii was found associated mostly with landscapes occupied by microphyllous desert scrub and grassland, as well as sarcocaulescent desert scrub. S. arabicus was found more abundantly in the flat low lands occupied by microphyllous and crassicaulescent desert scrub. These relationships cannot, however, be conclusive and require further investigation due to the complex ecology of these invasives.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectInvasive plantsen_US
dc.subjectGARPen_US
dc.subjectCVAen_US
dc.subjectLandscape dynamicsen_US
dc.subject'El Pinacate' Biosphere Reserveen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGeographyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorYool, Stephen R.en_US
dc.contributor.chairYool, Stephen R.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberChristopherson, Garyen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBailey, Keiron D.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMarsh, Stuart E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGuertin, D. Phillipen_US
dc.identifier.proquest1866en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659746419en_US
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