, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 453-465
Date: 14 Feb 2008

Cultural landscapes of Germany are patch-corridor-matrix mosaics for an invasive megaforb

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Abstract

Predicting the vulnerability of landscapes to both the initial colonisation and the subsequent spread of invasive species remains a major challenge. The aim of this study was to assess the relative importance of sub-patch level factors and landscape factors for the invasion of the megaforb Heracleum mantegazzianum. In particular, we tested which factors affect the presence in suitable habitat patches and the cover-percentage within invaded patches. For this purpose, we used standard (logistic) regression modelling techniques. The regression analyses were based on inventories of suitable habitat patches in 20 study areas (each 1 km2) in cultural landscapes of Germany. The cover percentage in invaded patches was independent from landscape factors, except for patch shape, and even unsatisfactorily explained by sub-patch level factors included in the analysis (R 2 = 0.19). In contrast, presence of H. mantegazzianum was affected by both local and landscape factors. Woody habitat structure decreased the occurrence probability, whereas vicinity to transport corridors (rivers, roads), high habitat connectivity, patch size and perimeter-area ratio of habitat patches had positive effects. The significance of corridors and habitat connectivity shows that dispersal of H. mantegazzianum through the landscape matrix is limited. We conclude that cultural landscapes of Germany function as patch-corridor-matrix mosaics for the spread of H. mantegazzianum. Our results highlight the importance of landscape structure and habitat configuration for invasive spread. Furthermore, this study shows that both local and landscape factors should be incorporated into spatially explicit models to predict spatiotemporal dynamics and equilibrium stages of plant invasions.