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Volume 27
Number 3
Winter 2010-2011
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On the application of the cyberinfrastructure model for efficiently monitoring invasive exotic species
By Kurt Lewis Helf
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
Cyberinfrastructure stimulus
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Map showing distribution of white oak in national parks in the Southeast Region

Source: USDA Forest Service

Figure 1. Distribution of white oak (Quercus alba), the gypsy moth’s preferred host species, by basal area (m2/ha). Basal area is closely correlated with foliage cover. Dots indicate locations of national parks in the Southeast Region.

Invasive exotic insect forest pests and pathogens (IFPs) pose a serious, permanent threat to natural and cultural resources in parks administered by the National Park Service (NPS). Though the attrition of these immigrant species is undoubtedly great, the few populations that survive are, de facto, part of the affected community, and can have a profound influence at the population, community, and ecosystem levels (Mack et al. 2000). Oak (Quercus sp.), the most abundant tree genus in many forested southeastern units of the National Park System (NatureServe, R. White, ecologist, personal communication, August 2009), is under constant threat from multiple IFPs (fig. 1, above). A serious outbreak of an exotic species with a wide host range (e.g., European gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar) could affect energy and nutrient flux in the short term (Fajvan and Wood 1996; Lovett et al. 2006). A potent exotic invasive (e.g., hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae) could, by killing dominant tree species, alter the hydrologic processes and successional dynamics of an entire ecosystem over the long term (Ellison et al. 2005; Stadler et al. 2006; Ford and Vose 2007; Nuckolls et al. 2008). Further, IFPs’ effect on forested areas is approximately 45 times greater than wildfire because the damage is incurred over a greater area, relatively synchronous, and continuous over a period of years (Dale et al. 2001). Interactions between stressors such as IFPs and global climate change could lead to compounded effects that further increase the likelihood of long-term, unpredictable alterations to forest ecosystems (Paine et al. 1998; Hansen et al. 2001; Walther et al. 2002). Finally, their estimated annual aggregate economic damage is estimated in the billions of dollars (Pimentel et al. 2000; Dale et al. 2001). The environmental and economic damage caused by IFPs justifies their monitoring by numerous federal and state agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations.

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This page updated:  22 February 2011

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From the Editor
In This Issue
Information Crossfile
Science Notes
Park Operations
Field Moment
Masthead Information
Building partnerships to restore an urban marsh ecosystem at Gateway National Recreation Area
Defining resource stressor syndromes in southwestern national parks
  On the application of the cyberinfrastructure model for efficiently monitoring invasive exotic species
Greater sage-grouse of Grand Teton National Park
An innovative method for nondestructive analysis of cast iron artifacts at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
Sidebar: Hopewell Furnace
Integrating traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) into natural resource management
The benefits of live interpretive programs to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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