Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 909–920 | Cite as

Range size, local abundance and effect inform species descriptions at scales relevant for local conservation practice

  • Erin K. Espeland
  • Zachary A. SylvainEmail author
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biodiversity protection and reserves


Understanding species abundances and distributions, especially at local to landscape scales, is critical for land managers and conservationists to prioritize management decisions and informs the effort and expense that may be required. The metrics of range size and local abundance reflect aspects of the biology and ecology of a given species, and together with its per capita (or per unit area) effects on other members of the community comprise a well-accepted theoretical paradigm describing invasive species. Although these metrics are readily calculated from vegetation monitoring data, they have not generally (and effect in particular) been applied to native species. We describe how metrics defining invasions may be more broadly applied to both native and invasive species in vegetation management, supporting their relevance to local scales of species conservation and management. We then use a sample monitoring dataset to compare range size, local abundance and effect as well as summary calculations of landscape penetration (range size × local abundance) and impact (landscape penetration × effect) for native and invasive species in the mixed-grass plant community of western North Dakota, USA. This paper uses these summary statistics to quantify the impact for 13 of 56 commonly encountered species, with statistical support for effects of 6 of the 13 species. Our results agree with knowledge of invasion severity and natural history of native species in the region. We contend that when managers are using invasion metrics in monitoring, extending them to common native species is biologically and ecologically informative, with little additional investment.


Competitive outcomes Fragmentation Invasion Plant community conservation Species distribution 



We thank D. Branson, L. Igl, L. Knotts, L. McNew, and T. Rand for their assistance in establishing the sampling design. M. O’Mara provided GIS expertise for site selection and led T. Besosa and A. Guggenheimer in data collection. J. Diaz, T. Rand, D. Strong, and J. Hendrickson commented on the manuscript. Y. Ortega provided assistance in model construction. Funding supplied by USDA appropriated project #5436-22000-017-00.

Supplementary material

10531_2019_1701_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA-ARS Pest Management Research UnitSidneyUSA

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