Propagation of invasive plant species in the presence of a road.

Bradly Deeley, Natalia Petrovskaya

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Invasive plant species pose a significant threat to biodiversity and the economy, yet their management is often resource-intensive and expensive, and further research is required to make control measures more efficient. Evidence suggests that roads can have an important effect on the spread of invasive plant species, although little is known about the underlying mechanisms at play. We have developed a novel mathematical model to analyse the impact of roads on the propagation of invasive plants. The integro-difference equation model is formulated for stage-structured population and incorporates a road sub-domain in the spatial domain. The results of our study reveal, that, depending on the definition of the growth function in the model, there are three distinct types of behaviour in front of the road. Roads can act as barriers to invasion, lead to a formation of a beachhead in front of the road, or act as corridors allowing the invasive species to invade the domain in front of the road. Analytical and computational findings on how roads can impact the spread of invasive species show that a small change in conditions of the environment favouring the invasive species can change the case for the road, allowing the invasive species to invade the domain in front of the road where it previously could not spread.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111196
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date16 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
B.F.D. acknowledges support in the form of a Forest Edge Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust and University of Birmingham.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • invasive plants
  • fragmented landscape
  • logistic growth
  • Allee effect
  • dispersal kernel
  • integro-difference equation


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