Invasive potential of invasive plants in the forest of the southern region, United StatesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Alien plants introduced for commercial or landscaping use have caused substantial problems as invaders of natural and managed ecosystems. The magnitude of the problem has dramatically increased over the past few decades with accelerated land disturbance, land use changes, and global and internal transportation. In the southern region of the United States, invasive plants are one of the threats to the long-term sustainability of our forest ecosystems along with climate change and land use change. We assessed the potential distribution of invasive plants in forests of the southern region using data from the invasive species component of the U.S.Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program and freely available digital data including elevation, climate, and land use. Using an ensemble modeling approach, we integrated maximum entropy algorithms, logistic regression, random forest, boosted regression trees, and support vector machine. Areas of agreement between models were considered areas of high probability. This suggests the importance of adaptive management and long-term monitoring programs and the need for further development of methods for assessing probable future climate conditions. We have used this approach to evaluate the relative importance of dependent variables and the application and selection of modeling techniques.