New Research Linking Invasive Species and Climate Change

By Catriona E. Rogers and John P. McCarty
Washington, DC (July 1, 2008)- Interactions between climate and biological invasions are the theme of a special section in the June 2008 issue of Conservation Biology. The Environmental Law Institute’s Invasive Species Program and the U.S. EPA’s Global Change Research Program brought together leading experts to assess the state of scientific knowledge on climate and invasive species. Together several articles were created that contribute significantly to the state of scientific knowledge on how a changing climate will affect patterns of invasion.

The papers discuss the current status of forested, wetland, freshwater and coastal ecosystems; the combined impacts of habitat alteration, pollution and non-native invasive species on those systems; how climatic changes could interact with existing stresses; potential management strategies, and crucial research gaps.
Populations of rare, native species could decline, while problems with non-native invasive species, such as kudzu and gypsy moths, might increase. The best strategies to protect ecosystems from climatic changes may be those that reduce other stresses, thus increasing resilience to a variety of stresses.
Societal priorities for ecosystem protection need to be articulated, and research is needed into the values of ecosystems, ecosystem functioning, human impacts, long-term ecological monitoring, and management options to provide a basis for selecting effective measures.
Related Resources:
Climate change and ecosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Region
Environmental Law Institute’s Invasive Species Program
US EPA Global Change Research Program
Conservation Biology- June 2008