Setting Priorities for Monitoring and Managing Non-native Plants: Toward a Practical Approach
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Land managers face the challenge to set priorities in monitoring and managing non-native plant species, as resources are limited and not all non-natives become invasive. Existing frameworks that have been proposed to rank non-native species require extensive information on their distribution, abundance, and impact. This information is difficult to obtain and often not available for many species and regions. National watch or priority lists are helpful, but it is questionable whether they provide sufficient information for environmental management on a regional scale. We therefore propose a decision tree that ranks species based on more simple albeit robust information, but still provides reliable management recommendations. To test the decision tree, we collected and evaluated distribution data from non-native plants in highland grasslands of Southern Brazil. We compared the results with a national list from the Brazilian Invasive Species Database for the state to discuss advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches on a regional scale. Out of 38 non-native species found, only four were also present on the national list. If management would solely rely on this list, many species that were identified as spreading based on the decision tree would go unnoticed. With the suggested scheme, it is possible to assign species to active management, to monitoring, or further evaluation. While national lists are certainly important, management on a regional scale should employ additional tools that adequately consider the actual risk of non-natives to become invasive.
KeywordsCategorization Decision tree Distribution Grassland Management Non-native species
CK acknowledges financial support by the Doctoral Programme of the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V. The data collection was conducted as part of the DFG project KO 1741/3-1. JMJ was financially supported by the DFG project JE 288/9-1. GEO receives support provided by CNPq (310022/2015-0).We appreciate helpful comments by John Wilson and two anonymous reviewers on an earlier version of this paper.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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