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Double sampling was used to provide a cost efficient estimate of the accuracy of a Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) classification map of a scene located in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. In the first phase, 200 sample points were randomly selected to assess the accuracy between Landsat TM data and aerial photography. The overall accuracy and Kappa statistic were 49.5 per cent and 32.5 per cent, respectively. In the second phase, 25 sample points identified in the first phase were selected using stratified random sampling and located in the field. This information was used to correct for misclassification errors associated with the first phase samples. The overall accuracy and Kappa statistic increased...
The diatom Didymosphenia geminata is a single-celled alga found in lakes, streams, and rivers. Nuisance blooms of D geminata affect the diversity, abundance, and productivity of other aquatic organisms. Because D geminata can be transported by humans on waders and other gear, accurate spatial prediction of habitat suitability is urgently needed for early detection and rapid response, as well as for evaluation of monitoring and control programs. We compared four modeling methods to predict D geminata's habitat distribution; two methods use presence?absence data (logistic regression and classification and regression tree [CART]), and two involve presence data (maximum entropy model [Maxent] and genetic algorithm for...
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Elk (Cervus elaphus) populations in Rocky Mountain National Park are higher than at any time in the past century, and heavy browsing by elk may interfere with aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) regneration. We used aerial photographs to identify all aspen stands within Rocky Mountain National Park, and all aspen stands within the elk winter range range (defined as 2400 to 2800 m elevation) in three portions of the adjacent Roosevelt National Forest. From this population of aspen stands, we randomly selected 57 stands for evaluation of aspen regeneration. Stands that contained stems younger than 30 years and taller than 2.5 m tall were classified as regenerating successfully. Only 20% of the aspen stands in Estes...
The Grand Staircase?Escalante National Monument (GSENM) contains a rich diversity of native plant communities. However, many exotic plant species have become established, potentially threatening native plant diversity. We sought to quantify patterns of native and exotic plant species and cryptobiotic crusts (mats of lichens, algae, and mosses on the soil surface), and to examine soil characteristics that may indicate or predict exotic species establishment and success. We established 97 modified-Whittaker vegetation plots in 11 vegetation types over a 29,000 ha area in the Monument. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and multiple linear regressions were used to quantify relationships between soil characteristics...
We used multiscale plots to sample vascular plant diversity and soil characteristics in and adjacent to 26 long-term grazing exclosure sites in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota, USA. The exclosures were 7?60 yr old (31.2 � 2.5 yr, mean � 1 se). Plots were also randomly placed in the broader landscape in open rangeland in the same vegetation type at each site to assess spatial variation in grazed landscapes. Consistent sampling in the nine National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and other management units yielded data from 78 1000-m2 plots and 780 1-m2 subplots. We hypothesized that native species richness would be lower in the exclosures than in grazed sites, due to competitive exclusion in the absence of...
Some theories and experimental studies suggest that areas of low plant species richness may be invaded more easily than areas of high plant species richness. We gathered nested-scale vegetation data on plant species richness, foliar cover, and frequency from 200 1-m2 subplots (20 1000-m2 modified-Whittaker plots) in the Colorado Rockies (USA), and 160 1-m2 subplots (16 1000-m2 plots) in the Central Grasslands in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota (USA) to test the generality of this paradigm. At the 1-m2 scale, the paradigm was supported in four prairie types in the Central Grasslands, where exotic species richness declined with increasing plant species richness and cover. At the 1-m2 scale, five forest...
Because ecotones often represent the physiological or competitive limit-of-distribution of species, they serve to define a species? local distribution. We take a relatively new approach to gradient analysis to quantify the changes in forest dominance (basal area of dominant tree species) and environmental factors (elevation, slope, aspect, intercepted photosynthetically active radiation [PAR], summer soil moisture, and soil depth and texture) across current lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) ecotones in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. Based on canonical correspondence analysis on data from eight 20 m wide, 140?480 m long vegetation transects, we found that lodgepole pine distribution, is described generally...
The invasion paradox describes the co-occurrence of independent lines of support for both a negative and a positive relationship between native biodiversity and the invasions of exotic species. The paradox leaves the implications of native?exotic species richness relationships open to debate: Are rich native communities more or less susceptible to invasion by exotic species? We reviewed the considerable observational, experimental, and theoretical evidence describing the paradox and sought generalizations concerning where and why the paradox occurs, its implications for community ecology and assembly processes, and its relevance for restoration, management, and policy associated with species invasions. The crux...
Studies to identify gaps in the protection of habitat for species of concern have been inconclusive and ham- pered by single-scale or poor multi-scale sampling methods, large minimum mapping units (MMU?s of 2 ha to 100 ha), limited and subjectively selected field observations, and poor mathematical and ecological models. We overcome these obstacles with improved multi-scale sampling techniques, smaller MMU?s (< 0.02 ha), an unbiased sampling design based on double sampling, improved mathematical models including species-area curves corrected for habitat heterogeneity, and geographic information system-based ecological models. We apply this landscape analysis approach to address resource issues in Rocky Mountain...
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Many studies have quantified plant invasions by determining patterns of non-native species establishment (i.e. richness and absolute cover). Until recently, dominance has been largely overlooked as a significant component of invasion. Therefore, we re-examined a 6-year data set of 323 0.1 ha plots within 18 vegetation types collected in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from 1998 to 2003, including dominance (i.e. relative cover) in our analyses. We specifically focused on the non-native species Bromus tectorum, a notable dominant annual grass in this system. We found that non-native species establishment and dominance are both occurring in species-rich, mesic vegetation types. Therefore, non-native...
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We investigated butterfly responses to plot-level characteristics (plant species richness, vegetation height, and range in NDVI [normalized difference vegetation index]) and spatial heterogeneity in topography and landscape patterns (composition and configuration) at multiple spatial scales. Stratified random sampling was used to collect data on butterfly species richness from seventy-six 20 � 50 m plots. The plant species richness and average vegetation height data were collected from 76 modified-Whittaker plots overlaid on 76 butterfly plots. Spatial heterogeneity around sample plots was quantified by measuring topographic variables and landscape metrics at eight spatial extents (radii of 300, 600 to 2,400 m)....
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Colorado, USA, contains a diversity of plant species. However, many exotic plant species have become established, potentially impacting the structure and function of native plant communities. Our goal was to quantify patterns of exotic plant species in relation to native plant species, soil characteristics, and other abiotic factors that may indicate or predict their establishment and success. Our research approach for field data collection was based on a field plot design called the pixel nested plot. The pixel nested plot provides a link to multi-phase and multi-scale spatial modeling-mapping techniques that can be used to estimate total species richness and patterns of plant...
Managers of natural landscapes need cost-efficient, accurate, and precise systems to inventory plant diversity. We investigated a nested-intensity sampling design to assess local and landscape-scale heterogeneity of plant species richness in aspen stands in southern Colorado, USA. The nested-intensity design used three vegetation sampling techniques: the Modified-Whittaker, a 1000-m2 multiple-scale plot (n 5 8); a 100-m2 multiple-scale Intensive plot (n 5 15); and a 100-m2 single-scale Extensive plot (n 5 28). The large Modified-Whittaker plot (1000 m2) recorded greater species richness per plot than the other two sampling techniques (P , 0.001), estimated cover of a greater number of species in 1-m2 subplots (P...
Only a small portion of any landscape can be sampled for vascular plant diversity because of constraints of cost (salaries, travel time between sites, etc.). Often, the investigator decides to reduce the cost of creating a vegetation map by increasing the minimum mapping unit (MMU), and/or by reducing the number of vegetation classes to be considered. Questions arise about what information is sacrificed when map resolution is decreased. We compared plant diversity patterns from vegetation maps made with 100-ha, 50-ha, 2-ha, and 0.02-ha MMUs in a 754-ha study area in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, United States, using four 0.025-ha and 21 0.1-ha multiscale vegetation plots. We developed and tested species?log(area)...
We present a rapid, cost-efficient methodology to link plant diversity surveys from plots to landscapes using: (1) unbiased site selection based on remotely sensed information; (2) multi-scale field techniques to assess plant diversity; (3)mathematical models (species-area curves) to estimate the number of species in larger areas corrected for within-type heterogeneity; and (4) mathematical techniques to estimate total species richness and patterns of plant diversity in a landscape. We demonstrate the methodology in a 754 ha study area in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, U.S.A.,using four 0.025 ha and twenty-one 0.1 ha multi-scale vegetation plots. We recorded 330 plant species (~1/3 the number of plants...
Elk browsing and conifer species mixing with aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) present current challenges to aspen forest management in the western United States. We evaluated the effects of conifers and elk browsing on quaking aspen stands in and near Rocky Mountain National Park using tree rings to reconstruct patterns of aspen establishment, growth, and mortality over the past 120 years. High conifer encroachment and elk browse were both associated with decreased aspen recruitment, with mean recruitment dropping over 30% from pure aspen to mixed stands and over 50% from low-browse to high-browse stands. Maximum aspen recruitment was lower in mixed stands than in pure stands with the same tree basal area. High...
Land managers need better techniques to assess exotic plant invasions. We used the cross-correlation statistic, IYZ, to test for the presence of spatial cross-correlation between pair- wise combinations of soil characteristics, topographic variables, plant species richness, and cover of vascular plants in a 754 ha study site in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, U.S.A. Us- ing 25 large plots (1000 m2) in five vegetation types, 8 of 12 variables showed significant spatial cross-correlation with at least one other variable, while 6 of 12 variables showed significant spatial auto-correlation. Elevation and slope showed significant spatial cross-correlation with all variables except percent cover of native and...
Geospatial statistical modelling and thematic maps have recently emerged as effective tools for the management of natural areas at the landscape scale. Traditional methods for the collection of field data pertaining to questions of landscape were developed without consideration for the parameters of these applications. We introduce an alternative field sampling design based on smaller unbiased random plot and subplot locations called the pixel nested plot (PNP). We demonstrate the applicability of the PNP design of 15 m � 15 m to assess patterns of plant diversity and species richness across the landscape at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Colorado, USA in a time (cost)-efficient manner for field data collection....
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Understanding species?environment relationships is important to predict the spread of non-native species. Yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris Mill.) is an invasive perennial recently found in the Flat Tops Wilderness of the White River National Forest on the western slope of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. We hypothesized yellow toadflax occurrence could be predicted from easily measured site characteristics. We used logistic regression with stepwise selection to generate a model to predict yellow toadflax occurrence on a particular plot based on that site?s physical characteristics. The experimental design was a paired-plot study in two locations using circular 1,018-m2 plots. Sixty-eight plots that did not contain...
The United States National Park Service was created to protect and make accessible to the public the nation?s most precious natural resources and cultural features for present and future generations. However, this heritage is threatened by the invasion of non-native plants, animals, and pathogens. To evaluate the scope of invasions, the USNPS has inventoried non-native plant species in the 216 parks that have significant natural resources, documenting the identity of non-native species. We investigated relationships among non-native plant species richness, the number of threatened and endangered plant species, native species richness, latitude, elevation, park area and park corridors and vectors. Parks with many...


map background search result map search result map Effects of spatial heterogeneity on butterfly species richness in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, USA Predicting yellow toadflax infestations in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado Evaluating dominance as a component of non-native species invasions Aspen regeneration in the Colorado Front Range: differences at local and landscape scales Predicting yellow toadflax infestations in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado Effects of spatial heterogeneity on butterfly species richness in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, USA Aspen regeneration in the Colorado Front Range: differences at local and landscape scales Evaluating dominance as a component of non-native species invasions