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PLoS One. 2015 Feb 19;10(2):e0117893. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117893. eCollection 2015.

Using high-resolution future climate scenarios to forecast Bromus tectorum invasion in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Author information

1
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America; Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America; Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America.
2
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America; Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America.
3
Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America; Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America.
4
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America.
5
Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America; Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States of America.
6
Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO, United States of America.

Abstract

National Parks are hallmarks of ecosystem preservation in the United States. The introduction of alien invasive plant species threatens protection of these areas. Bromus tectorum L. (commonly called downy brome or cheatgrass), which is found in Rocky Mountain National Park (hereafter, the Park), Colorado, USA, has been implicated in early spring competition with native grasses, decreased soil nitrogen, altered nutrient and hydrologic regimes, and increased fire intensity. We estimated the potential distribution of B. tectorum in the Park based on occurrence records (n = 211), current and future climate, and distance to roads and trails. An ensemble of six future climate scenarios indicated the habitable area of B. tectorum may increase from approximately 5.5% currently to 20.4% of the Park by the year 2050. Using ordination methods we evaluated the climatic space occupied by B. tectorum in the Park and how this space may shift given future climate change. Modeling climate change at a small extent (1,076 km2) and at a fine spatial resolution (90 m) is a novel approach in species distribution modeling, and may provide inference for microclimates not captured in coarse-scale models. Maps from our models serve as high-resolution hypotheses that can be improved over time by land managers to set priorities for surveys and removal of invasive species such as B. tectorum.

PMID:
25695255
PMCID:
PMC4335003
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0117893
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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