Establishments of non‐native forest pests (insects and pathogens) continue to increase worldwide with growing numbers of introductions and changes in invasion pathways. Quantifying spatio‐temporal patterns in establishment locations and subsequent invasion dynamics can provide insight into the underlying mechanisms driving invasions and assist biosecurity agencies with prioritizing areas for proactive surveillance and management.
United States of America.
Insecta, plant pathogens.
Using locations of first discovery and county‐level occurrence data for 101 non‐native pests across the contiguous USA, we (a) quantified spatial patterns in discovery points and county‐level species richness with spatial point process models and spatial hotspot analyses, respectively, and (b) identified potential proxies for propagule pressure (e.g., human population density) associated with these observed patterns.
Discovery points were highly aggregated in space and located in areas with high densities of ports and roads. Although concentrated in the north‐eastern USA, discovery points also occurred farther west and became less aggregated as time progressed. Invasion hotspots were more common in the north‐east. Geographic patterns of discovery points and hotspots varied substantially among pest origins (i.e., global region of pests’ native ranges) and pest feeding guilds. Significant variation in invasion richness was attributed to the patterns of first discovery locations. Data and shapefiles comprising analyses are provided.
Use of spatial point pattern analyses provided a quantitative characterization of the central role of human activities in establishment of non‐native pests. Moreover, the decreased aggregation of discovery points through time suggests that invasion pathways to certain areas in the USA have either been created or intensified by human activities. Overall, our results suggest that spatio‐temporal variability in the intensity of invasion pathways has resulted in marked geographic patterns of establishment and contributed to current macroscale patterns of pest invasion in the USA.
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Global Ecology and Biogeography
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- p. 1749-1762
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
The influences of human and physical factors on species invasions have been extensively examined by ecologists across many regions. However, how habitat fragmentation per se may affect forest insect and disease invasion has not been well studied, especially the related patterns over regional or subcontinental scales. Here, using national survey data on forest pest richness and fragmentation data across United States forest ecosystems, we examine how forest fragmentation and edge types (neighboring land cover) may affect pest richness at the county level. Our results show that habitat fragmentation and edge types both affected pest richness. In general, specialist insects and pathogens were more sensitive to fragmentation and edge types than generalists, while pathogens were much less sensitive to fragmentation and edge types than insect pests. Most importantly, the developed land edge type contributed the most to the richness of nonnative insects and diseases, whether measured by the combination of all pest species or by separate guilds or species groups (i.e., generalists vs. specialists, insects vs. pathogens). This observation may largely reflect anthropogenic effects, including propagule pressure associated with human activities. These results shed new insights into the patterns of forest pest invasions, and it may have significant implications for forest restoration and management.more » « less
Non‐native species are part of almost every biological community worldwide, yet numbers of species establishments have an uneven global distribution. Asymmetrical exchanges of species between regions are likely influenced by a range of mechanisms, including propagule pressure, native species pools, environmental conditions and biosecurity. While the importance of different mechanisms is likely to vary among invasion stages, those occurring prior to establishment (transport and introduction) are difficult to account for. We used records of unintentional insect introductions to test (1) whether insects from some biogeographic regions are more likely to be successful invaders, (2) whether the intensity of trade flows between regions determines how many species are intercepted and how many successfully establish, and (3) whether the variables driving successful transport and successful establishment differ.
Canada, mainland USA, Hawaii, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, South Korea, South Africa.
To disentangle processes occurring during the transport and establishment stages, we analysed border interceptions of 8199 insect species as a proxy for transported species flows, and lists of 2076 established non‐native insect species in eight areas. We investigated the influence of biogeographic variables, socio‐economic variables and biosecurity regulations on the size of species flows between regions.
During transport, the largest species flows generally originated from the Nearctic, Panamanian and Neotropical regions. Insects native to 8 of 12 biogeographic regions were able to establish, with the largest flows of established species on average coming from the Western Palearctic, Neotropical and Australasian/Oceanian regions. Both the biogeographic region of origin and trade intensity significantly influenced the size of species flows between regions during transport and establishment. The transported species richness increased with Gross National Income in the source country, and decreased with geographic distance. More species were able to establish when introduced within their native biogeographic region.
Our results suggest that accounting for processes occurring prior to establishment is crucial for understanding invasion asymmetry in insects, and for quantifying regional biosecurity risks.
We investigate geographic patterns across taxonomic, ecological and phylogenetic diversity to test for spatial (in)congruency and identify aggregate diversity hotspots in relationship to present land use and future climate. Simulating extinctions of imperilled species, we demonstrate where losses across diversity dimensions and geography are predicted.
Present day, future.
Major taxa studied
Using geographic range maps for rodent species, we quantified spatial patterns for 11 dimensions of diversity: taxonomic (species, range weighted), ecological (body size, diet and habitat), phylogenetic (mean, variance, and nearest‐neighbour patristic distances, phylogenetic distance and genus‐to‐species ratio) and phyloendemism. We tested for correlations across dimensions and used spatial residual analyses to illustrate regions of pronounced diversity. We aggregated diversity hotspots in relationship to predictions of land‐use and climate change and recalculated metrics following extinctions of IUCN‐listed imperilled species.
Topographically complex western North America hosts high diversity across multiple dimensions: phyloendemism and ecological diversity exceed predictions based on taxonomic richness, and phylogenetic variance patterns indicate steep gradients in phylogenetic turnover. An aggregate diversity hotspot emerges in the west, whereas spatial incongruence exists across diversity dimensions at the continental scale. Notably, phylogenetic metrics are uncorrelated with ecological diversity. Diversity hotspots overlap with land‐use and climate change, and extinctions predicted by IUCN status are unevenly distributed across space, phylogeny or ecological groups.
Comparison of taxonomic, ecological and phylogenetic diversity patterns for North American rodents clearly shows the multifaceted nature of biodiversity. Testing for geographic patterns and (in)congruency across dimensions of diversity facilitates investigation into underlying ecological and evolutionary processes. The geographic scope of this analysis suggests that several explicit regional challenges face North American rodent fauna in the future. Simultaneous consideration of multi‐dimensional biodiversity allows us to assess what critical functions or evolutionary history we might lose with future extinctions and maximize the potential of our conservation efforts.
Invasive species science has focused heavily on the invasive agent. However, management to protect native species also requires a proactive approach focused on resident communities and the features affecting their vulnerability to invasion impacts. Vulnerability is likely the result of factors acting across spatial scales, from local to regional, and it is the combined effects of these factors that will determine the magnitude of vulnerability. Here, we introduce an analytical framework that quantifies the scale‐dependent impact of biological invasions on native richness from the shape of the native species–area relationship (SAR). We leveraged newly available, biogeographically extensive vegetation data from the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network to assess plant community vulnerability to invasion impact as a function of factors acting across scales. We analyzed more than 1000 SARs widely distributed across the USA along environmental gradients and under different levels of non‐native plant cover. Decreases in native richness were consistently associated with non‐native species cover, but native richness was compromised only at relatively high levels of non‐native cover. After accounting for variation in baseline ecosystem diversity, net primary productivity, and human modification, ecoregions that were colder and wetter were most vulnerable to losses of native plant species at the local level, while warmer and wetter areas were most susceptible at the landscape level. We also document how the combined effects of cross‐scale factors result in a heterogeneous spatial pattern of vulnerability. This pattern could not be predicted by analyses at any single scale, underscoring the importance of accounting for factors acting across scales. Simultaneously assessing differences in vulnerability between distinct plant communities at local, landscape, and regional scales provided outputs that can be used to inform policy and management aimed at reducing vulnerability to the impact of plant invasions.
Preventing the spread of range‐shifting invasive species is a top priority for mitigating the impacts of climate change. Invasive plants become abundant and cause negative impacts in only a fraction of their introduced ranges, yet projections of invasion risk are almost exclusively derived from models built using all non‐native occurrences and neglect abundance information.
We compiled abundance records for 144 invasive plant species from five major growth forms. We fit over 600 species distribution models based on occurrences of abundant plant populations, thus projecting which areas in the eastern United States (U.S.) will be most susceptible to invasion under current and +2°C climate change.
We identified current invasive plant hotspots in the Great Lakes region, mid‐Atlantic region, and along the northeast coast of Florida and Georgia, each climatically suitable for abundant populations of over 30 invasive plant species. Under a +2°C climate change scenario, hotspots will shift an average of 213 km, predominantly towards the northeast U.S., where some areas are projected to become suitable for up to 21 new invasive plant species. Range shifting species could exacerbate impacts of up to 40 invasive species projected to sustain populations within existing hotspots. On the other hand, within the eastern U.S., 62% of species will experience decreased suitability for abundant populations with climate change. This trend is consistent across five plant growth forms.
We produced species range maps and state‐specific watch lists from these analyses, which can inform proactive regulation, monitoring, and management of invasive plants most likely to cause future ecological impacts. Additionally, areas we identify as becoming less suitable for abundant populations could be prioritized for restoration of climate‐adapted native species. This research provides a first comprehensive assessment of risk from abundant plant invasions across the eastern U.S.