Non-Native Species (Plants) - Early Detection
Importance / Issues
Non-native invasive species have been directly linked to a number of impacts that are in direct conflict with National Park management goals, including the replacement of native vegetation, the loss of rare species, changes in ecosystem structure, alteration of nutrient cycles and soil chemistry, shifts in community productivity, reduced agricultural productivity, and changes in water availability. The damage caused by non-native species to natural resources can be devastating and our understanding of the consequences is incomplete. Consequently, the dynamic relationships among plants, animals, soil, and water established over long periods of time are at risk of being degraded in a relatively brief period.
Given the ecological impacts of non-native species, it is understandable that they ranked as the top vital sign for monitoring within the Klamath Network. Prevention of plant invasions is the most effective, economical, and ecologically sound approach to managing invasive species. When preventive measures are not successful, approaches dependent upon early detection of new species and new populations are the next best tactic. Many non-native species experience a time-lag between introduction and rapid expansion. The need for proactive approaches to manage non-natives and the existence of vulnerable and valuable sites throughout the Network suggest that early detection of incipient populations and new species is the best approach for monitoring this vital sign.
Crater Lake National Park
Protocol Development & Status
The KLMN protocol will benefit from methods advocated in the Early Detection of Invasive Plant Species Handbook (a cooperative USGS/NPS task) and build on preliminary protocols of other inventory and monitoring networks.
Detect populations of selected invasive plants by sampling along roads, trails, and powerline corridors, and in campgrounds, where introduction is most likely.
Provide the information to park management on a timely basis to allow effective management responses.
Develop and maintain a list of priority invasive plant species with greatest potential for spread and impact to park resources for monitoring in each park.
Adapt spatial sampling as knowledge improves through monitoring
Use monitoring data collected from this protocol and the vegetation protocol to estimate possible trends and develop and refine models of invasive species habitat requirements and of the most susceptible habitats.
Parameters to be Measured
Presence / Absence, Abundance, Distribution, and Habitat Characteristics.