Climate and human-mediated range shifts of plants in the NWT, Canada, and impacts to native plant and soil communities

Regions: Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: biology, native plants, soil, non-native plants

Principal Investigator: Singer, Claire L (2)
Licence Number: 17059
Organization: Saint Mary's University
Licensed Year(s): 2022 2021
Issued: Jun 07, 2022
Project Team: Aisling Dunn, Johanna Stewart, Shakita Jensen

Objective(s): To measure the extent of non-native plant spread into natural areas in the NWT, assess the impact of this spread to native plant and soil communities, and assess the risk of invasion from plants in neighbouring jurisdictions.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5272.

The proposed research aims to measure the extent of non-native plant spread into natural areas in the NWT, assess the impact of this spread to native plant and soil communities, and assess the risk of invasion from plants in neighbouring jurisdictions.

Sampling plots at increasing distances from the roadside or river, or into a burn, will be used to estimate the spread of non-native plants from road corridors into adjacent naturally disturbed (i.e., rivers, burns) and undisturbed natural areas. Non-native and native plant species cover will be estimated in each plot. To sample soil species in year 2, insect trapping and extraction of organisms from litter and soil will be used. Finally, the risk assessment will be completed using the Invasiveness Ranking System for Non-native Plants of Alaska.

Data and results will be shared with the Government of the NWT for their biodiversity records and to support objectives related to non-native species monitoring and research articulated in Environment and Natural Resources (ENR’s) strategic plan and knowledge agenda. The Principal Investor (PI) anticipates sharing progress and results at community-directed opportunities offered to researchers by organizations like Ecology North and Aurora Research Institute (research series). Additional public presentations will be pursued as requested and as opportunities arise. In addition, the PI anticipate presenting the results to the NWT Council on Invasive Species, Pests, and Pathogens, once it is established. More broadly, the PI plans to present the research at annual conferences of the Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution, the Ecology Society of America, or the Wildlife Society. The PI also plans to publish a minimum of three articles in peer-reviewed journals based on the results of this research. Finally, the development of non-native plant identification tools could enhance public interest and engagement in conservation initiatives and facilitate increased public awareness of species range shifts over time.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 1, 2022 to August 19, 2022