Accurate methods to predict the naturalization of non-native woody plants are key components of risk-management programs being considered by nursery and landscape professionals. The objective of this study was to evaluate four decision-tree models to predict naturalization (ﬁ rst tested in Iowa) on two new sets of data for non-native woody plants cultivated in the Chicago region. We identiﬁ ed life-history traits and native ranges for 193 species (52 known to naturalize and 141 not known to naturalize) in two study areas within the Chicago region. We used these datasets to test four models (one continental-scale and three regional-scale) as a form of external validation. Application of the continental-scale model resulted in classiﬁ cation rates of 72–76%, horticulturally limiting (false positive) error rates of 20–24%, and biologically signiﬁ cant (false negative) error rates of 5–6%. Two regional modiﬁ cations to the continental model gave increased classiﬁ cation rates (85–93%) and generally lower horticulturally limiting error rates (16–22%), but similar biologically signiﬁ cant error rates (5–8%). A simpler method, the CART model developed from the Iowa data, resulted in lower classiﬁ cation rates (70–72%) and higher biologically signiﬁ cant error rates (8–10%), but, to its credit, it also had much lower horticulturally limiting error rates (5–10%). A combination of models to capture both high classiﬁ cation rates and low error rates will likely be the most effective until improved protocols based on multiple regional datasets can be developed and validated.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mark_widrlechner/20/