Mapping the extent and spread of multiple plant invasions can help prioritise management in Galapagos National Park

Mandy Trueman, Rachel Standish, D. Orellana, W. Cabrera

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Mapping is an important tool for the management of plant invasions. If landscapes are mapped in an appropriate way, results can help managers decide when and where to prioritize their efforts. We mapped vegetation with the aim of providing key information for managers on the extent, density and rates of spread of multiple invasive species across the landscape. Our case study focused on an area of Galapagos National Park that is faced with the challenge of managing multiple plant invasions. We used satellite imagery to produce a spatially-explicit database of plant species densities in the canopy, finding that 92% of the humid highlands had some degree of invasion and 41% of the canopy was comprised of invasive plants. We also calculated the rate of spread of eight invasive species using known introduction dates, finding that species with the most limited dispersal ability had the slowest spread rates while those able to disperse long distances had a range of spread rates. Our results on spread rate fall at the lower end of the range of published spread rates of invasive plants. This is probably because most studies are based on the entire geographic extent, whereas our estimates took plant density into account. A spatial database of plant species densities, such as the one developed in our case study, can be used by managers to decide where to apply management actions and thereby help curtail the spread of current plant invasions. For example, it can be used to identify sites containing several invasive plant species, to find the density of a particular species across the landscape or to locate where native species make up the majority of the canopy. Similar databases could be developed elsewhere to help inform the management of multiple plant invasions over the landscape.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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