Towards species specific management of invasive hawkweeds in British Columbia: Quantifying distributions, modeling potential invasion extent, and investigating genetic-morphometric congruence
The species of European hawkweeds present in British Columbia are aggressive and ecologically detrimental invaders of meadows, parks, agricultural lands and rangelands. Left unmanaged, these species could cost the province of British Columbia upwards of $60 million in economic losses by 2020. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MoFLNRO) is responsible for addressing invasive plant species on Crown land. This collaborative project between the MoFLNRO and UBC Okanagan will clarify the distributions and invasion extent of each hawkweed species present in east-central British Columbia in order to inform management of these species. We will use these data to predict, using Ecological Niche Models, areas of the province vulnerable to invasion by these species. We also will determine if the current morphology-based identification system is effective for on-site differentiation of these species. This research project will directly inform and improve the effectiveness of managing these invasive weed species.