Skip to main content

Modeling the geographic distribution of pawpaw (Asimina triloba [L.] Dunal) in a portion of its northern range limits, western New York State, USA

Abstract

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba [L.] Dunal) is a small deciduous tree in eastern North America notable for its edible fruit. Its northern range extends into New York State (NYS) where it is listed as threatened, with only approximately 20 sites known to contain pawpaw. This research models the geographic distribution of pawpaw in western NYS (land area = 27,263 km2) for four reasons: to understand factors shaping its distribution, to assess the degree to which it is protected, to locate potential introduction or reintroduction sites, and to locate potential sites with undiscovered pawpaw. This study uses an ensemble of small models (ESM) approach devised for modeling the distribution of rare species, which averages predictions from simple (i.e., bivariate) models weighted by model predictive performance. The ESM in this study, constructed from boosted regression tree (BRT) models, demonstrated a high ability to discern pawpaw presences from pseudo-absences. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) value was 0.986 when calculated using training data, and BRT models comprising the ESM exhibited AUC values calculated using cross-validation data as high as 0.957. The ESM suggests that pawpaw is found in the warmest (mean annual temperature > 9.0 °C,) and driest (May–September precipitation < 44 cm) areas of western NYS, and on mildly acidic (pH = 5.5–7.0) and deep (> 110 cm) soils. Locations predicted to be suitable for pawpaw are overwhelmingly found on unprotected lands; forested areas in PAs with “high” or “highest” suitability for pawpaw only comprise 0.1–0.2% of the study area.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Data availability

Restrictions apply to the availability of data, since pawpaw is a threatened species in NYS and its locations are kept confidential.

Code availability

R code created for this study are available upon request from the author.

References

  • Barlow C (2000) The ghosts of evolution nonsensical fruit, missing partners, and other ecological anachronisms. Basic Books, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Bosso L, Smeraldo S, Rapuzzi P, Sama G, Garonna AP, Russo D (2017) Nature protection areas of Europe are insufficient to preserve the threatened beetle Rosalia alpina (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae): evidence from species distribution models and conservation gap analysis. Ecol Entomol 43:192–203

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowden WM, Miller B (1951) Distribution of the papaw, Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal, in southern Ontario. Can Field-Nat 65:27–31

    Google Scholar 

  • Breiner FT, Guisan A, Bergamini A, Nobis MP (2015) Overcoming limitations of modelling rare species by using ensembles of small models. J Anim Ecol 6:1210–1218

    Google Scholar 

  • Breiner FT, Nobis MP, Bergamini A, Guisan A (2018) Optimizing ensembles of small models for predicting the distribution of species with few occurrences. Methods Ecol Evol 9:802–808

    Google Scholar 

  • Callaway MB (1990) The pawpaw. Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY USA

    Google Scholar 

  • Catullo G, Masi M, Falcucci A, Maiorano L, Rondinini C, Boitani L (2008) A gap analysis of Southeast Asian mammals based on habitat suitability models. Biol Cons 141:2730–2744

    Google Scholar 

  • Damman H, Feeny P (1988) Mechanisms and consequences of selective oviposition by the zebra swallowtail butterfly. Anim Behav 36:563–573

    Google Scholar 

  • Di Musciano M, Di Cecco V, Bartolucci F, Conti F, Frattaroli AR, Di Martino L (2020) Dispersal ability of threatened species affects future distributions. Plant Ecol 221:265–281

  • Elith J, Leathwick JR, Hastie T (2008) A working guide to boosted regression trees. J Anim Ecol 77:802–813

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Engelbrecht W (2003) Iroquoia: the development of a native world. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse

    Google Scholar 

  • Esri (2019) ArcGIS Pro 2.4. Redlands

  • Fawcett T (2006) An introduction to ROC analysis. Pattern Recognit Lett 27:861–874

    Google Scholar 

  • Fenneman NM (1938) Physiography of eastern United States. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Franklin J, Miller JA (2009) Mapping species distributions: spatial inference and prediction. Cambridge University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Hijmans RJ, Phillips S, Leathwick J, Elith J (2013) Dismo: species distribution modeling. R package version 0.8–17.

  • Homer C, Dewitz J, Jin S, Xian G, Costello C, Danielson P, Gass L, Funk M, Wickham J, Stehman S, Auch R, Riitters K (2020) Conterminous United States land cover change patterns 2001–2016 from the 2016 national land cover database. ISPRS J Photogramm Remote Sens 162:184–199

    Google Scholar 

  • Hosaka N, Gómez S, Kachi N, Stuefer JF, Whigham DF (2005) The ecological significance of clonal growth in the understory tree, pawpaw (Asimina triloba). Northeastern Naturalist 12:11–12

    Google Scholar 

  • House HD (1918) Report of the State Botanist 1917. The University of the State of New York, Albany

    Google Scholar 

  • Immel DL, Anderson MK (2001) PAWPAW: Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center

  • Jaberalansar Z, Tarkesh M, Bassiri M (2018) Spatial downscaling of climate variables using three statistical methods in Central Iran. J Mt Sci 15:606–617

    Google Scholar 

  • Jones SC, Peterson RN, Turner T-A, Pomper KW, Layne DR (2019) Pawpaw planting guide. Kentucky State University. https://kysu.edu/academics/cafsss/pawpaw/pawpaw-planting-guide/

  • Keener C, Kuhns E (1997) The impact of Iroquoian populations on the northern distribution of pawpaws in the northeast. North Am Archaeol 18:326–342

    Google Scholar 

  • Kimmerer R (2011) Restoration and reciprocity: the contributions of traditional ecological knowledge. In: Egan D, Hjerpe EE, Abrams J (eds) Human dimensions of ecological restoration: integrating science, nature, and culture. Island Press, Washington, pp 257–276

    Google Scholar 

  • Kreger M, Schmidt P (2011) The state of the birds 2011: report on public lands and waters. Diane Publishing Co, Darby

    Google Scholar 

  • Larimore RL, Busemeyer DT, Ebinger JE (2003) Pawpaw, Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal (Annonaceae), in the Prairie Peninsula of Illinois, USA. Nat Areas J 23:356–361

    Google Scholar 

  • Little EL, Viereck LA (1971) Atlas of United States trees. United States Department of Agriculture, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  • McLaughlin JL (2008) Paw paw and cancer: Annonaceous acetogenins from discovery to commercial products. J Nat Prod 71:1311–1321

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Murphy JL (2001) Pawpaws, persimmons, and ’possums: on the natural distribution of pawpaws in the northeast. North Am Archaeol 22:93–115

    Google Scholar 

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (2014) Description of SSURGO database. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/survey/?cid=nrcs142p2_053627

  • NatureServe (2020) Asimina triloba: pawpaw. NatureServe Explorer. https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148616/Asimina_triloba. Accessed on 31 Mar 2020

  • Nowacki GJ, Abrams MD (2008) The demise of fire and “mesophication” of forests in the Eastern United States. Bioscience 58:123–138

    Google Scholar 

  • NYNHP (2019) Element occurrence dataset. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Albany

    Google Scholar 

  • Parker AC (1910) Iroquois uses of maize and other food plants. University of the State of New York, Albany

    Google Scholar 

  • Parker AC (1920) The archeological history of New York. The University of the State of New York, Albany

    Google Scholar 

  • Phillips SJ, Dudik M (2008) Modeling of species distributions with Maxent: new extensions and a comprehensive evaluation. Ecography 31:161–175

    Google Scholar 

  • Prasad AM, Iverson LR, Matthews S, Peters M (2007) Climate change tree atlas (a spatial database of 134 tree species of the Eastern USA). U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station. https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/atlas/tree/#

  • PRISM Climate Group (2013) Gridded climate data for the contiguous USA. https://www.prism.oregonstate.edu/

  • Pursh F (1869) Journal of a botanical excursion in the northeastern parts of the states of Pennsylvania and New York, during the year 1807. Brinckloe & Marot, Philadelphia

  • R Core Team (2018) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna

    Google Scholar 

  • Slater MA, Anderson RC (2014) Intensive selective deer browsing favors success of Asimina triloba (paw paw) a native tree species. Natural Areas Journal 34:178–187

    Google Scholar 

  • Snow DR (1996) The Iroquois. Blackwell Publishers Inc, Malden

    Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan J (1993) SPECIES: Asimina triloba. Fire Effects Information System (FEIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/asitri/all.html

  • Swets JA (1988) Measuring the accuracy of diagnostic systems. Science 240:1285–1293

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tulowiecki SJ (2020) Modeling the historical distribution of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) for potential restoration in western New York State. US For Ecol Manage 462:118003

    Google Scholar 

  • Tulowiecki SJ, Larsen CPS (2015) Native American impact on past forest composition inferred from species distribution models, Chautauqua County, New York. Ecol Monogr 85:557–581

    Google Scholar 

  • Tulowiecki SJ, Larsen CPS, Wang Y-C (2015) Effects of positional error on modeling species distributions: a perspective using presettlement land survey records. Plant Ecol 216:67–85

    Google Scholar 

  • Tulowiecki SJ, Robertson DS, Larsen CPS (2020) Oak savannas in western New York State, circa 1795: synthesizing predictive spatial models and historical accounts to understand environmental and native American influences. Ann Am Assoc Geogr 110:184–204

    Google Scholar 

  • USGS (2013) The national map viewer and download platform. https://nationalmap.gov/viewer.html

  • USGS (2017) National Hydrography Dataset Best Resolution. https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/ngp/national-hydrography

  • USGS (2020) TopoView. https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/topoview/. Accessed 22 Apr 2020

  • USGS Gap Analysis Project (2018) PAD-US Data Download. In: Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US). https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/science-analytics-and-synthesis/gap/science/pad-us-data-download?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

  • Waugh FW (1916) Iroquis [sic] foods and food preparation. Government Printing Bureau, Ottawa

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams JN, Seo C, Thorne J, Nelson JK, Erwin S, O’Brien JM, Schwartz MW (2009) Using species distribution models to predict new occurrences for rare plants. Divers Distrib 15:565–576

    Google Scholar 

  • Willson MF, Schemske DW (1980) Pollinator limitation, fruit production, and floral display in pawpaw (Asimina triloba). Bull Torrey Bot Club 107:401–408

    Google Scholar 

  • Young SM (2019) New York rare plant status lists. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephen J. Tulowiecki.

Additional information

Communicated by Hsiao-Hsuan Wang.

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tulowiecki, S.J. Modeling the geographic distribution of pawpaw (Asimina triloba [L.] Dunal) in a portion of its northern range limits, western New York State, USA. Plant Ecol 222, 193–208 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-020-01098-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-020-01098-x

Keywords

  • Pawpaw
  • Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal
  • Species distribution models
  • Ensemble modeling
  • Gap analysis
  • Boosted regression trees