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Natural and land-use history of the Northwest mountain ecoregions (USA) in relation to patterns of plant invasions.

Posted date: May 03, 2007
Publication Year: 
2005
Authors: Parks, Catherine G.; Radosevich, Steven R.; Endress, Bryan A.; Naylor, Bridgett J.; Anzinger, Dawn; Rew, Lisa J.; Maxwell, Bruce D.; Dwire, Kathleen A.
Publication Series: 
Miscellaneous Publication
Source: Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 7: 137-158

Abstract

Although the Northwest currently has the least proportion of non-native invasive plant species relative to other regions or North America, invasions continue to increase into the mountainous areas of the region. Landscape structure, such as the variation found along the complex gradients of the Northwest mountain ecoregions, affects the expansion of invasive plant species and the invasibility of plant communities. Also, the history of land use and current use patterns affect the expansion of invasive plants, and many of the deteriorated environments in the region's mountains may invite and stabilize plant invasions. We examined the patterns of invasive plant diversity in Northwest mountain ecoregions, as derived from literature sources, to analyze which factors influence plant invasions. Our analysis found altered riparian systems and disturbed forests to be especially vulnerable to plant invasion. Conversely, alpine and wilderness areas are still relatively uninfected by invasive plants. Both riparian and alpine communities, while making LIP a relatively small area across Northwest mountain ecoregions, have significant ecological importance and deserve special protection from invasive plant introductions. Human settlement at low elevations and intense land use of upland forests will likely continue to enhance invasive plant introductions into Northwest mountain ecosystems. Knowledge of the relationships between biological and environmental factors, disturbance, and human land use will be critical for future management strategies that proactively locate, prevent, or contain plant invasions in the mountains of the Northwest.

Citation

Parks, Catherine G.; Radosevich, Steven R.; Endress, Bryan A.; Naylor, Bridgett J.; Anzinger, Dawn; Rew, Lisa J.; Maxwell, Bruce D.; Dwire, Kathleen A. 2005. Natural and land-use history of the Northwest mountain ecoregions (USA) in relation to patterns of plant invasions. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 7: 137-158