Katharine F. E. Hogan http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9140-1744
Date of this Version
Biol Invasions 2022
Roadsides can be vectors for tree invasion within rangelands by bisecting landscapes and facilitating propagule spread to interior habitat. Current invasive tree management in North America’s Great Plains focuses on reducing on-site (i.e., interior habitat) vulnerability through on-site prevention and eradication, but invasive tree management of surrounding areas known to serve as invasion vectors, such as roadsides and public rights-of-ways, is sporadic. We surveyed roadsides for invasive tree propagule sources in a central Great Plains grassland landscape to determine how much of the surrounding landscape is potentially vulnerable to roadside invasion, and by which species, and thereby provide insights into the locations and forms of future landcover change. Invasive tree species were widespread in roadsides. Given modest seed dispersal distances of 100–200 m, our results show that roadsides have potential to serve as major sources of rangeland exposure to tree invasion, compromising up to 44% of rangelands in the study area. Under these dispersal distances, funds spent removing trees on rangeland properties may have little impact on the landscape’s overall vulnerability, due to exposure driven by roadside propagule sources. A key implication from this study is that roadsides, while often neglected from management, represent an important component of integrated management strategies for reducing rangeland vulnerability to tree invasion.