Street trees and climate change: the invasive potential of rosewood
Combining aspects of invasion ecology, urban ecology and the effects of climate change, my research aims to assess invasion processes for urban trees. Using rosewood (Tipuana tipu) as a case study, an assessment will be made of the invasive risk the species poses. My research will establish climatic and edaphic factors influencing the germination and seedling establishment of rosewood under both field and glasshouse conditions. Novel species interactions between an introduced species and the existing native species are regarded as exerting a strong influence on a species invasive success, and my research will investigate the interactions between rosewood and herbivores, seed predators and seed dispersers. My research will also develop a species distribution model, to assess the invasive risk rosewood poses under the current and changed climatic regimes.
Urban trees provide many benefits for Australian cities. However, the appropriateness of tree choice needs to be re-assessed in an era of rapid global change. Resilient trees from arid environments overseas are an attractive option, yet little is known regarding the impacts of these trees on biodiversity and the risk that they could become problematic weeds. Rosewood is shortlisted as a potential weed of National Significance, however is also widely available and promoted as a suitable urban tree. The species is already invasive in some Australian regions and it is important that the threat to the rest of Australia is assessed and managed.