Using dispersal data to model invasive spread and management effectiveness

David A. Westcott and Cameron S. Fletcher, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, PO Box 780, Atherton, 4883 Queensland, Australia.


Fundamentally, plant invasions are about the movement of individuals through an ecosystem. In contrast, management is often focused on killing plants and generally gives little or no consideration to the implications of plant movement for the management strategy adopted or its likely success. This is potentially a mistake, as understanding how invaders are moving through the landscape may offer insights into how management can be improved. The catch, however, is that our understanding of movement tends to be limited to the outcomes of movement, i.e. final patterns of spread, rather than the process of movement. We describe a project which is using a basic understanding of the ecology of plant movement in ecosystems to develop models of invasive spread that allow prediction of the effects of management on the rate and pattern of spread within real landscapes. These models are being used to assess the efficacy of management and to identify opportunities for its improvement.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2009) 24 (3) 99.