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Linking models of fire behavior and landscape change to support forecasts of invasive species in southwestern U.S.

New research published in Scientific Reports used the ST-Sim model of landscape change, in combination with the FARSITE fire behavior model, to evaluate critical uncertainties for forecasting the invasion of African Buffelgrass in Arizona‚Äôs Saguaro National Park.  The study, led by the United States Geological Survey in collaboration with scientists at the National Park Service and ApexRMS, evaluated the impact of various ecological uncertainties on the invasion and fire dynamics of Buffelgrass.  The authors used SyncroSim to dynamically link ST-Sim projections of invasive species spread with FARSITE projections of fire growth under conditions not previously observed for the Sonoran Desert where, until recently, fuel continuity required to carry a fire has been rare.  The main conclusion is that the best way to improve forecasts of invasion impacts is by reducing uncertainty in the Buffelgrass patch infill rate.