Spatial characteristics of the invasion of Acer platanoides on a temperate forested island

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We examined the spatial pattern of an introduced population of Norway maple (Acer platanoides L.) on a temperate forested island in order to quantify the influence of landscape context on invasion pattern. The spatial location of every Norway maple tree and sapling (≥0.5 m tall) that had invaded the island forest (n = 4496) was mapped using a global positioning system. The influence of landscape context was examined with the aid of a geographic information system and indices of spatial association. We found that the coniferous forest type was the most heavily invaded (71.9% of all Norway maple stems) when compared to either the hardwood or mixed conifer-hardwood forest types (5.4% and 19.3%, respectively). Across all forest types (excluding urban trees), the population was highly aggregated around roads and other Norway maple trees. For example, 90% of the population was within 40.8 m of a road with an average distance from road of 21.02 ± 0.40 m. This association around roads was significantly greater than would be predicted by chance alone (P < 0.001). Similarly, nearest neighbor distances averaged 4.5± 0.2 m with 90% of individuals within 8.3 m of another Norway maple. Measures of spatial association indicated that the invasion was significantly aggregated at both the stand and island scale. Nevertheless, a comparatively small but potentially influential set of individuals were observed at relatively long distances from the main invasion front. Ramifications of these disjunct establishments and other observed patterns are discussed in the context of current spread pattern theory, invasive species monitoring, and control efforts. © Springer 2006.

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Biological Invasions