PRUNUS: a spatially explicit demographic model to study plant invasions in stochastic, heterogeneous environments
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- Sebert-Cuvillier, E., Simonet, M., Simon-Goyheneche, V. et al. Biol Invasions (2010) 12: 1183. doi:10.1007/s10530-009-9539-8
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To model the invasion of Prunus serotina invasion within a real forest landscape we built a spatially explicit, non-linear Markov chain which incorporated a stage-structured population matrix and dispersal functions. Sensitivity analyses were subsequently conducted to identify key processes controlling the spatial spread of the invader, testing the hypothesis that the landscape invasion patterns are driven in the most part by disturbance patterns, local demographical processes controlling propagule pressure, habitat suitability, and long-distance dispersal. When offspring emigration was considered as a density-dependent phenomenon, local demographic factors generated invasion patterns at larger spatial scales through three factors: adult longevity; adult fecundity; and the intensity of self-thinning during stand development. Three other factors acted at the landscape scale: habitat quality, which determined the proportion of the landscape mosaic which was potentially invasible; disturbances, which determined when suitable habitats became temporarily invasible; and the existence of long distance dispersal events, which determined how far from the existing source populations new founder populations could be created. As a flexible “all-in-one” model, PRUNUS offers perspectives for generalization to other plant invasions, and the study of interactions between key processes at multiple spatial scales.