Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
Environmental Science and Policy
invasive species, biodiversity, conservation, National Parks
Invasive species are recognized as a major threat to biodiversity. Understanding what factors facilitate invasion is of great conservation value, as this will allow for more specific and targeted conservation efforts related to non-native species. Knowledge of factors that contribute to invasion play an important role in conservation of particularly unique habitats, such as the iconic United States National Parks. Though National Parks have some legal protections against some forms of habitat degradation, they are still vulnerable to the introduction of non-natives. The purpose of this study is to characterize species invasion in National Parks and identify what environmental conditions may contribute to invasion on a national and regional level. We used plot-level and park-level data from 165 National Parks and National Historic Monuments throughout the United States to make correlations between the degree of invasion and predictor variables using a statistical regression analysis. We were unable to obtain a nationwide predictor of invasion, however were more successful on a regional basis. We concluded that the degree of human impact was the most important factor in predicting invasion. In addition, area of the park and precipitation were important factors correlated with invasion. Native species richness was correlated as well, however weakly. These results will be used to better assist in conservation efforts of National Parks in the future.
Fried, Rachel S., "Predictors of Exotic Plant Species in United States National Parks" (2017). Honors Theses and Student Projects. 30.