Date of Award

Spring 4-23-2021

Semester of Degree

May

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology

Department

Environmental and Forest Biology

Major Professor

Martin Dovciak

CO-MP

Jennifer Dean

Steering Committee Member

Eddie Bevilacqua

Abstract

With so many invasive species, natural resource managers must allocate limited funds to certain species and not others. Often, managers determine priorities through subjective experience and not regional data, contributing to a lack of objectivity, consistency, and transparency. This research mitigates this problem by demonstrating a process for combining data from iMapInvasives, New York’s official invasive species database, with expert feedback. Based on this process eighteen prioritization lists were generated for each of New York’s 8 Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMs) and the entire State of New York. Additionally, invasive species spread rates were calculated for all non-native terrestrial plant species in NYS using herbarium records and iMapInvasives data. Species’ current primary source of spread, primary dispersal mechanism, and overall invasiveness were all significant predictors of these invasive spread rates. The results of these analyses may provide a valuable insight for invasive species managers in their prioritization decisions.

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