Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


nvasive species can rapidly and seriously degrade the quality of native vegetation communities by altering natural processes and reducing biodiversity. At the same time, control methods that land managers use can also affect the habitat. Land managers must determine which control method is most effective against the invasive species, while being the least damaging to the ecosystem. It is estimated that some 3,500 to 4,000 invasive species are currently infesting the United States (USFS, 1996). In hopes of preventing the spread of invasive species in the Los Padres National Forest as well as in the surrounding California State Parks of Monterey County, there has been a concerted effort to address the growing problem of invasive plant species. For this reason the formation of the Big Sur Weed Management Committee (BSWMC) was created. The BSWMA is a multi-agency task force committed to the control of invasive species within the Big Sur Weed Management Area (BSWMA). The Big Sur WMA is concerned with 8 specific species (See Appendix 1). Their origins are quite diverse and have growth forms ranging from perennial grasses to annual herbs to shrubs. To investigate the various factors associated with these invasive species, I have created a Geographic Information System (GIS) database. The database was created to map, interpret, and examine the areas of infestation within Monterey County and the Big Sur WMA. Database analysis revealed that there were high occurrences of infestation within 200m of Highway 1 as well as surrounding county and private roadsides. Primarily, infestations were discovered to be in soil type: Rock Outcrop / Xerothent. The majority of infestations were found on Southerly and Westerly facing aspects with slopes >31%. Areas of infestations occurred largely in areas classified as coastal mixed shrub much of which had experienced fairly recent fire activity. A weed hazard map was created based on a ranking system of these most significant commonalties found in current infestations. The weed hazard map created for the Big Sur Weed Management Area can be utilized as a tool for weed treatment, eradication, or prevention by indicating which areas are most at risk. In this same manner, the weed hazard map can also serve as a basis for strategic planning as a result of soil disturbances such as: landslide, wildfire, or road maintenance. It is hoped that the weed hazard map can serve as an additional tool in the on going war on invasive weeds in the Big Sur Weed Management Area.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science and Policy Institute