Modeling the invasiveness of Ulmus pumila in urban ecosystems in conditions of climate change
AbstractClimatic change can influence the boundaries of the natural and alien plant species distribution. Fluctuations in air temperature, relative humidity and other factors can become a stimulus to initiation and / or intensification of the invasive nature of some adventive plant species, especially in areas with a high degree of anthropogenic transformation. This paper presents an analysis of the current state and a forecast of the invasiveness of the alien species Ulmus pumila L. (Asiatic elm) in the Northern Steppe Dnieper under conditions of climatic change. Two local U. pumila populations consisting of young different age trees were found during a route survey in the territory of the large industrial city Dnipro (48°28′00″ N, 35°01′05″ E) in its left-bank and right-bank parts.The seed origin of both local populations of Asiatic elm is confirmed by the fact that the young plants were spaced at a distance of 50 to 120 m from adult trees, which could potentially be parent plants. Both the left-bank and right-bank populations of U. pumila were located on abandoned construction sites, where there were numerous reinforced concrete slabs, piles and abundant construction debris. In both U. pumila local populations, 100 different-aged trees were randomly selected throughout the site, and their age and the morphometric parameters were measured to simulate the development process of the detected populations, provided the current trends of climate change continue. Analytical dependence of the number of trees in the left-bank local U. pumila population on development time was described by a polynomial model with a determination coefficient of 98.3%. The graphic representation of this model had a sinusoidal character, and a similar dynamic of left-bank population growth in the subsequent years was suggested. The dynamic of the number of trees in the right-bank local Asiatic elm population was described by an exponential model with a determination coefficient of 84.4%, and its graphical representation was exponential. According to the forecast, by 2020, the number of plants in the right-bank local population of U. pumila can increase 4-fold in comparison with 2015 while maintaining the current dynamic of population development. Thus, the created mathematical models adequately described the dynamics of development of both local populations during the last 15 years and predicted their subsequent intensive growth, confirming the initiation and intensification of the invasive nature of the alien species U. pumila by climatic change in the Steppe Dnieper.
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