Species distribution modelling of selected invasive alien plant species in Namibia and Germany

Species  distribution  modelling  of  selected  invasive  alien  plant  species  in  Namibia  and Germany 
Ruben Ulbrich, Kwembeya E., Joubert D., De Cauwer V.
University of Namibia

Currently invasive alien plants in Namibia and Germany are regarded as of moderate importance. But without proper monitoring and awareness the situation could change quickly and dramatically. One option to estimate possible distributions of species is by using species distribution modelling. My master’s thesis will deal with the possible and potential distribution of four invasive alien plant taxa (Prosopis spp & Leucaena leucocephala in Namibia; Prunus serotina & Robinia pseudoacacia in Germany) as calculated using the programme Maxent. A comparison between the ranges from native occurrence data (North-America) and actual occurrence points in the receiver country in relation to the environmental setting will be done. The occurrence points were extracted from international databases (e.g. GBIF) and national herbaria (e.g. WIND). Different environmental variables were used: as examples for soil – dominant soils, organic material; for temperature – annual mean/maximum  of  warmest  month  /minimum  of  coldest  month;  for  precipitation  –  annual mean/wettest and driest month and quarter. Projections of possible distribution in the recipient range will be calculated using three different data-sets: 1) occurrence data only from the donor region; 2) occurrence data only from the receiver country; and 3) occurrence data of the four species from both the donor and receiver country. The knowledge of possible and potential distribution of Invasive Alien Plants could be used to prioritise the management of areas of high conservation value like national parks or conservancy areas.