Weed risk assessment validation: the Australian system and its potential use on introduced plant species in Chile
Keywords:alien species, expert classification, weed risk assessment, WRA-Chile
Assessing the status of introduced species already established in the country is crucial to avoid new invasions. In this study, we validated a modified version of the Australian Weed Risk Assessment (AWRA) for application in Chile. We calculated invasion risk assessment scores for 369 species, adapting the AWRA protocol for Chile (WRA-Ch). We used expert ranking, and the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis method to validate. We calculated WRA-Ch scores for introduced species from the five categories proposed by Matthei (1995). Of the total species, 2 were accepted, 339 were rejected, and 28 resulted in second evaluation status. The expert categories differed significantly in the average WRA-Ch value. Major weeds and very serious weeds are the categories with the highest values. When evaluating the ability of the WRA-Ch to predict the invasive or non-invasive status of a species, the area under the ROC curve was 0.96, indicating an excellent ability of the WRA-Ch to differentiate between invasive and non-invasive plants. The validation of WRA-Ch for use in Chile represents an important step in preventing the introduction of new species. We suggest that WRA-Ch be used by government agencies in charge of biodiversity monitoring at the national level and border control. Validating WRA-Ch responds to the need to implement a national system of invasion risk analysis for species introduced into the country and those that are intentionally introduced or intercepted pre-border.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Nicol Fuentes, Alfredo Saldaña
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