Is my data suitable for the InvEST software?

Hi everyone. I´m a Portuguese biologist applying for a scholarship to a PhD Thesis. To apply for the scholarship I must write a plan with what I intend to do on my Thesis. Briefly, I will study the relation between ungulates and invasive plants…

Someone mentioned the InVEST software as a possible task on my proposal. I´ve been reading about it, but I cannot tell if my data would be suitable to use this software or not. My work will be accomplished through fieldwork and manipulative experiments to check for dispersal of invasive plants seeds in ungulates scats, and/or if they eat such plants. Also, I will check ungulates habitat preferences (if they prefer habitats with native vegetation, or if the presence of invasive plants is not important for them).

Because invasive plants are responsible for major ecological, social, economic and human health problems, ungulates may play a very important role in the provisioning of ecosystem services by supporting the control of IAPs (in case of consumption or destruction of seeds/plants), or ecosystem disservices, by supporting IAPs dispersal (in case of seed dissemination).

I cannot imagine how I could translate these information to use the models in the InVest Software, since I´ve never worked with it before. Could you please give me a hand on how to use it so I can write in the plan for my Thesis? Or suggest another software more suitable for my future data? :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance!

Best regards, Mónica

Hi @almeida.monika -

I’ve used a fair number of the InVEST models, and honestly am having a hard time thinking of a way to use any of them that are directly relevant to your work, but I’ll write a few musings.

The Habitat models could provide some information about how different land management options, configurations or threats might impact the ungulates’ use of different places on the landscape.

The freshwater models may possibly show a difference in water quality or quantity, based on whether an area is populated with native versus invasive plants. Obviously this wouldn’t be directly related, but a possible side effect. The same could be said for pollination and carbon storage. However, I once tried to quantify the difference between native and invasive grasslands in California, and could find basically no useful quantitative information about the difference in water use, nutrient use, etc, that could be used to parameterize the models.

While I spend a lot of time working with both native and invasive plants where I live (sigh… it’s so much harder to undo plant invasion than it was to start the invasion…) my suspicion is that our models won’t help. And I haven’t done that kind of dispersal analysis, so don’t have recommendations for other tools, so would like to hear from anyone who has!

~ Stacie

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Hi @swolny !

Thank you so much for your reply, time and consideration!!

I´ve spent lots of time on google and YouTube trying to learn a bit more about InVEST, and I kind got the same conclusion, that my data is not suitable for InVEST.

I´ll use something else instead, like linear mixed models (which I also don´t know about, but I´m trying to learn!) =)

“(sigh… it’s so much harder to undo plant invasion than it was to start the invasion…)” - So True!!! But many people don´t understand that! “It is so beautiful” and “It never spread” and “It´s only on my garden” …

Thank you! :slight_smile:

Best regards