Raczka, Nanette , Hardy, Christopher .
Impact of Climate Change on Potentially Invasive Exotic Trees of Pennsylvania.
One goal for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and similar agencies is to help protect Pennsylvania's natural resources by identifying and controlling the spread of invasive exotic plants that can harm native ecosystems. The DCNR Watch List, for example, is a list of exotic plants that are now showing invasive tendencies within or near state boundaries, and this list represents an attempt to be more proactive in the fight against the spread of invasive exotics. This list, however, includes only species already showing invasive potential and it does not explicitly take into account the impact of near-future climate change scenarios on the spread or contraction of these species' ranges. Additionally, the Watch List strategy does not attempt to identify currently "well behaved" exotic ornamentals that could become problematic when the near-future climate becomes more favorable to their spread. In order to aid park managers and agencies like the DCNR in controlling the future spread of potential exotic invasives, we used herbarium specimen data with current and future (year 2050) climate models to map and rank the potential spread of commonly cultivated exotic trees in Pennsylvania. We found that Zelkova serrata (Japanese zelkova) ranked among the highest increases (46%) in its invasive potential, whereas Acer griseum (paperbark maple) is projected to exhibit the lowest increase (actually, a decrease of 6.6%) in its invasive potential in the state. These results demonstrate how specimen data and widely accepted climate change scenarios can be used to predict the threat and quantify the future spread of cultivated exotic species, and that such models can be used as a tool to prioritize control efforts or educational campaigns in order to protect native ecosystems from invasion.
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1 - James C. Parks Herbarium, Biology, Millersville University , PO Box 1002 , Millersville, PA, 17551, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: Franklin B/Hyatt
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 8:45 AM