Land Cover Change and Biological Invasion: Chinese Tallow Tree in Eastern Texas
Chinese tallow, Triadica sebifera (L.) Small (Euphorbiaceae), is one of the most pervasive invaders of in the southeastern United States. In various ecosystems, Chinese tallow forms dense monocultures, displacing native species at multiple trophic levels and potentially facilitating the invasion of other non-native species. To mitigate the spread of this species, researchers have attempted to identify areas especially prone to invasion, historically using environmental and climatic data. Recent studies suggest, however, that anthropogenic disturbance may be a powerful driver of this species invasive success. The goal of this study is to determine if Chinese tallow range expansion in eastern Texas is correlated with anthropogenic disturbance, using land cover change as a proxy. To achieve this, Chinese tallow abundance data from multiple Forest Inventory Analysis surveys (2001-2017) will be compared with historical national land cover data (2001, 2006, 2011) from 42 counties in Texas using correlation analysis. Based on existing research, we hypothesized that Chinese tallow abundance will be related to changes in land cover - correlating positively with increases in developed land, agricultural land, and forested land. The findings of this study will inform scientific understanding of the relationship between anthropogenic disturbance and species’ invasions and could assist land managers in identifying areas prone to invasion by this pervasive weed.
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium poster
"Land Cover Change and Biological Invasion: Chinese Tallow Tree in Eastern Texas" (2019). Stander Symposium Posters. 1604.