Modelling alien vegetation invasions and clearing strategies

Schonegevel, Lucille (2001-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The burgeoning problem of alien plant invasions in South Africa necessitates effective decision-making based on an understanding of the complex processes that govern these invasions. Due to the spatial nature of the problem, this study explored the use of Geographic Information Systems and spatial models for predicting the spread of alien vegetation and assessing the effectiveness of clearing strategies. The Spatially Explicit Individual Based Simulation (SEIBS) model was identified as a potentially useful tool for alien plant management. This thesis documents the further investigation and development that was necessary before recommendations could be made regarding the future use of the model. The landscape version of the SEIBS model was adapted to allow for the convenient input and output of spatial data, making it possible to simulate invasions in different areas. An ArcView extension was developed in order to facilitate the pre- and post-processing of the spatial data required and created by the model. Changes were also made to the fire routine of the model. The new version of the model was called Clear. A series of model tests for Pinus pinaster were conducted to assess the sensitivity of the Clear model to spatial resolution, initial spatial fragmentation and heterogeneity. These tests revealed that the model was sensitive to changes in resolution and needed to be reparameterised when using different resolutions. The initial level of fragmentation was shown to have a major influence on the invasion rate. Although greater levels of spatial heterogeneity with respect to vegetation age did not significantly affect the spread rate, it did increase the effectiveness of clearing strategies based on clearing juvenile or sparse vegetation. Based on these tests, it is concluded that the model can be readily applied to different areas, provided the influence of spatial characteristics is understood and accommodated. The Clear model was shown to be a useful tool for evaluating clearing strategies and for investigating invasion rates. It is recommended that the model be introduced to a wider audience, in order to obtain user feedback and further improve the accessibility of the model.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die toenemende probleem van uitheemse indringerplante in Suid Afrika, noodsaak effektiewe besluitneming wat gebaseer is op 'n begrip van die ingewikkelde prosesse wat indringing beheer. As gevolg van die ruimtelike geaardheid van die probleem, is die gebruik van Geografiese Inligtingstelsels en ruimtelike modelle vir die voorspelling van die verspreiding van indringerplante en die evaluasie van die effektiwiteit van opruimingstrategieë in hierdie studie ondersoek. Die Spatially Explicit Individual Based Simulation (SEIBS) model is as 'n moontlike geskikte hulpmiddel vir die bestuur van uitheemse indringerplante geïdentifiseer, alhoewel verdere ondersoeke en ontwikkeling nodig was voordat aanbevelings vir die gebruik van die model gemaak kon word. Vir hierdie studie is die landskapweergawe van die SEIBS model aangepas om die maklike toevoer en afvoer van ruimtelike data te fasiliteer. 'n ArcView uitbreiding is ontwikkel om met die voor- en naprosessering van ruimtelike data, wat deur die model gebruik en geskep is, te fasiliteer. Veranderinge is ook aan die vuur sub-roetine van die module gemaak. Die nuwe weergawe van die model word Clear genoem. 'n Reeks toetse is vir Pinus pinaster gedoen om die sensitiwiteit van die Clear model te toets teenoor ruimtelike resolusie, aanvanklike vlak van versnippering en vlak van heterogeniteit. Vanuit die toetse het dit geblyk dat die model sensitief was ten opsigte van verandering in resolusie en dat die model se parameters verstel moes word wanneer verskillende resolusies gebruik word. Daar is ook gewys dat die die vlak van aanvanklike versnippering 'n groot impak op die verspreidingstempo het. Alhoewel hoër vlakke van ruimtelike heterogeniteit teenoor plantegroei nie 'n merkbare impak op die verspreidingstempo gehad het nie, het dit wel die effektiwiteit van opruiming-strategieë, gebaseer op die opruiming van jong of yl verspreide plante, verbeter. Die gevolgtrekking wat uit die toetse gemaak kan word is dat die model geredelik op verskillende areas toegepas kan word, op die voorwaarde dat die invloed van ruimtelike eienskappe in ag geneem word en in berekening gebring word. Dit word aanbeveel dat die model wyer bekendgestel word om sodoende gebruikersterugvoer te bekom.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52341
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