Invasive Species Policy Must Embrace a Changing Climate
In this Regional Invasive Species & Climate Change (RISCC) publication, Bradley et al. (2022) lay out ideas for better integration of invasive species and climate change policies and practices. They have synthesized what they've learned from available science, management practice, and from the NE RISCC network.
With increasing impacts of climate change observed across ecosystems, there is an urgent need to consider climate change in all future environmental policy. But existing policy and management might be slow to respond to this challenge, leading to missed opportunities to incorporate climate change into practice. Furthermore, invasive species threats continue to rise and interact with climate change—exacerbating negative impacts. Enabling natural resource managers and individuals to be proactive about climate-driven invasive species threats creates a win–win for conservation.
Recommendations include expanding opportunities for information sharing across borders, supporting proactive screening and regulation of high-risk species on the horizon, and incentivizing individual actions that reduce ecological impacts. In addition, invasive species risk should be considered when crafting climate mitigation and adaptation policy to reduce compounding stressors on ecosystems. As we develop much-needed tools to reduce harm, policy and management must consider the combined threats of invasions and climate change.
Take home points:
- Proactive regulation of ornamental plants that are invasive in warmer climates would stop invasions before they start
- Restoration following invasive species treatment must start to consider sourcing seeds and plants from warmer climates
- The public is part of the solution - continuing to promote native plants reduces risk of introducing novel, warm-adapted invasive plants and insects (which often hitchhike on imported plants).
Create ways to regularly talk to neighbors to your south to learn how management practices need to adapt to climate change and which range-shifting species to watch for.
- Build horizon scanning for range-shifting invasives, problem neonatives, and potential sleeper species into regular practice