An official website of the United States government.

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.

This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that’s been signed by the U.S. government. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely.

Climate Change

View all resources
Climate change

"Invasive alien species (IAS) and climate change, with land use change and changes in the nitrogen and carbon cycles, are identified as the top four drivers of global biodiversity loss. Their relative importance depends on the ecoregion being considered. Biodiversity loss is accelerating because of the globalization of trade and increased international tourism.

Climate change can facilitate IAS as:

  • new species, that may become invasive, will be entering regions due to climate change,
  • species hierarchies in ecosystems will change, leading to new dominants that may have invasive tendencies, and
  • climate induced stress in an ecosystem will facilitate invasive pathways." (Source: CABI 2010)

Spotlights

Pennsylvania State University.

Despite the devastating impact of the invasive emerald ash borer on forests in the eastern and midwestern parts of the United States, climate change will have a much larger and widespread impact on these landscapes by the year 2100, according to researchers.

UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Due to the impact of climate change, plant pests that ravage economically important crops are becoming more destructive and posing an increasing threat to food security and the environment, finds a scientific review released this week. The Scientific Review on the Impact of Climate Change on Plant Pests - A global challenge to prevent and mitigate plant pest risks in agriculture, forestry and ecosystems was prepared under the auspices of the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention and is one of the key initiatives of the International Year of Plant Health, which is coming to an end this month. "The key findings of this review should alert all of us on how climate change may affect how infectious, distributed and severe pests can become around the world," said the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu. "The review clearly shows that the impact of climate change is one of the greatest challenges the plant health community is facing," added Qu.

USDA. Forest Service.

Mean surface temperatures have increased globally by ~0.7 °C per century since 1900 and 0.16 °C per decade since 1970. Most of this warming is believed to result from increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. These changes will affect invasive species in several ways. Furthermore, climate change may challenge the way we perceive and consider nonnative invasive species, as impacts to some will change and others will remain unaffected; other nonnative species are likely to become invasive; and native species are likely to shift their geographic ranges into novel habitats. From Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the United States Forest Sector (2021).

DOI. United States Geological Survey.

As climate change reduces the frequency and intensity of killing freezes, tropical plants and animals that once could survive in only a few parts of the U.S. mainland are expanding their ranges northward, a new U.S. Geological Survey-led study has found. The change is likely to result in some temperate zone plant and animal communities found today across the southern U.S. being replaced by tropical communities. These changes will have complex economic, ecological and human health consequences, the study predicts. Some effects are potentially beneficial, such as expanding winter habitat for cold-sensitive manatees and sea turtles; others pose problems, such as the spread of insect-borne human diseases and destructive invasive species.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

ARS researchers are working to understand the impact of a changing climate on bee health. In observance of National Pollinator Week, Tellus presents a special article authored by two of ARS’s leading bee researchers.

University of Washington. Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center.

Climate change and invasive species threaten ecosystems across the Northwest and the world, creating significant challenges for managing our lands and waters. Although both are recognized as major threats, there are still many questions about how climate change and invasive species interact to create novel and complex challenges for our ecosystems. The Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (NW CASC), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and EcoAdapt have recently launched the Pacific Northwest Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (PNW RISCC) Network to help natural resource managers and biologists incorporate climate change science into invasive species management. The network’s goal is to establish a community of practice that helps resource managers make climate-smart decisions around invasive species prevention, early detection, control, monitoring and future research activities.

Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (New Zealand).

A new project, "Managing Invasive Species for Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific", is underway to allow Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) to take stronger action against invasive species and thereby build resilience to climate change. Invasive species make ecosystems and communities more vulnerable to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. They increase erosion, reduce food and fish production, and pose critical threats to ecosystem services and human health. Invasive species will become more widespread as disturbances, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and temperatures all increase under climate change.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this subject, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Climate Change

Council or Task Force
National Invasive Species Council.
Approved by ISAC Dec 9, 2010.

Australian Invasive Species Council.

Partnership

International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Prepared by: The Ad Hoc Working Group on Invasive Species and Climate Change.
Prepared for: The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) and The National Invasive Species Council (NISC).
This report is the result of more than 2 years of hard work by federal and non-federal experts.

This report is targeted at a broad audience of people interested in invasive species, climate change and natural resource management. It is structured to first provide a brief overview of the connections between invasive species and climate change before looking specifically at how these communities approach conservation and natural resource management.

This document addresses the broader framework of invasive species management and climate change adaptation as tools to enhance and protect ecosystems and their natural resources in the face of these drivers of change. The review of tools and methods will be of interest to managers working at specific sites and to individuals making strategic decisions at larger geographic scales. Policy-makers and government agencies at the local, state and national levels may be interested in the issues related to institutional coordination and recommendations, while the scientific and research community may focus on the application of assessment tools. Finally, the public as a whole may benefit from the overall focus on how the drivers of climate change and invasive species intersect and the potential ramifications these will have on the natural world.

CAB International.

This book is part of the CABI Invasive Series, which addresses all topics relating to invasive species, including biosecurity surveillance, mapping and modelling, economics of invasive species and species interactions in plant invasions. This book specifically aims to examine the nexus of climate change and biological invasions, and the resulting impacts, and to identify means to reduce the vulnerability and increase the resiliency of managed and unmanaged ecosystems. (Full-text is available for employees on the USDA network).

IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Separately, climate change and invasive species are two of the greatest threats to biodiversity and the ecosystem services upon which humanity relies. Combined their impacts will be compounded, potentially resulting in negative feedback loops with increasingly dire consequences. This publication from GISP highlights recent efforts to identify the underlying dynamics linking these two global change drivers and the optimal responses for the policy-making and research communities.

Conservation Biology Institute; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Much of the content presented here is taken from A Guide to Climate Change Adaptation for Conservation: Resources and Tools for Climate Smart Management of Florida's Fish and Wildlife Species and Their Habitats (PDF | 6.97 MB) (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 2016) and the Climate Change Impacts on Florida's Biodiversity and Ecology (4.12 MB) chapter in "Florida’s Climate: Changes, Variations and Impacts (Florida Climate Institute, 2017)."

DOI. Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center.

Invasive species and climate change represent two of the five major global change threats to ecosystems. An emerging initiative of the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center aims to develop management-relevant research to improve invasive species management in the face of climate change. Through working groups, information sharing and targeted research, this project addresses the information needs of invasive species managers in the context of climate change. The working group combines climate and invasive species scientists with invasive species managers and policy makers from the northeast to promote a two-way dialogue to 1) share regional knowledge about current management strategies and scientific insights; and 2) identify and address planning and information needs of managers related to invasive species and climate change.

See also: Regional Effort on Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management -- Project Summary; includes: Publications, Presentations, Engagement (Tools, Handouts, News, Workshops, Webinars)
An emerging initiative of the Northeast Climate Science Center aims to develop management-relevant research to improve invasive species management in the face of climate change. RISCC Management is collaboratively led by the Department of Interior Northeast Climate Science Center, the New York Invasive Species Research Institute, and the University of Massachusetts to address the question “How can we manage for upcoming biological invasions in the light of climate change?” 

Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center.
What will the changes in climate mean for the distribution and occurrences of pests? What tools will help in addressing the needs? The Northeastern IPM Center is partnering with other leading organizations on initiatives related to climate change and pests.
Federal Government
Environmental Protection Agency.
This report reviews available literature on climate-change effects on aquatic invasive species (AIS) and examines state-level AIS management activities. Data on management activities came from publicly available information, was analyzed with respect to climate-change effects, and was reviewed by managers. This report also analyzes state and regional AIS management plans to determine their capacity to incorporate information on changing conditions generally, and climate change specifically. Final Report EPA/600/R-08/014.

United States Department of Agriculture.

USDA's Climate Hubs are a unique collaboration across the department's agencies. They are led by Agricultural Research Service and Forest Service senior Directors located at ten regional locations, with contributions from many other programs including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Risk Management Agency. The Climate Hubs link USDA research and program agencies in their regional delivery of timely and authoritative tools and information to agricultural producers and professionals.

DOI. National Park Service.

Rapid changes in climate and the introduction and spread of invasive species are fundamentally changing the natural and cultural landscapes of national parks. These factors have cascading effects on resource management, park operations, and visitor experience. Adapting management to continuously changing conditions requires understanding ecosystem dynamics and interactions among these global change stressors.

USDA. FS. Climate Change Resource Center.

Evidence suggests that future climate change will further increase the likelihood of invasion of forests and rangelands by nonnative plant species that do not normally occur there (invasive plants), and that the consequences of those invasions may be magnified. Read through the synthesis for more information on the factors that influence plant invasions and how these factors interact with one another.

USDA. Office of the Chief Economist.

The Climate Change Program Office (CCPO) operates within the USDA Office of the Chief Economist to coordinate agricultural, rural, and forestry-related climate change program and policy issues across USDA. CCPO ensures that USDA is a source of objective, analytical assessments of the effects of climate change and proposed response strategies. This website provides information, reports, and data related to USDA’s analysis of these topics.

USDA. FS. Climate Change Resource Center.

Forest tree diseases are often caused by infectious pathogens such as fungi and bacteria. Changing climate conditions can influence the spread of infectious diseases and their carriers, and add stresses to trees, making them more susceptible to diseases. Tree disease can also be caused by abiotic conditions such as air pollution, though this page deals primarily with biotic factors. Read the synthesis paper to learn more about these climate-disease interactions and how management strategies can address the potential shifting patterns of tree disease.

United States Global Change Research Program.
International Government

Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

On 20 November 2006 the Biological Diversity Advisory Committee (BDAC), whose role it was to advise the then Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Heritage, held a one day workshop in Canberra on climate change and invasive species’ impacts on biodiversity. The various sections in this report are based upon topics discussed on the day, but they incorporate many additional findings drawn from recent research.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia). AdaptNRM.
State and Local Government

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Academic

Indiana University.

While climate change is a burden to many species, it’s a boon to some non-native plants and animals. The sudden population growth and expansion of unchecked species can have a detrimental effect on native habitat, agriculture, and human health. Environmental Resilience Institute researchers are working to understand the risks posed by disease-carrying insects, such as tick and mosquitoes, and how invasive species are affecting established ecosystems. See also: Climate Implications – Invasive Species and Pests.

Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania Sea Grant.
Pennsylvania and New York Sea Grants worked together with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to compile 10 lesson plans focusing on the potential interactions between aquatic invasive species and the changing climate.
Professional

Wisconsin Public Television.

Climate change means new and stronger weeds. In this video, University of Wisconsin-Extension weed specialist Mark Renz shows how climate change will turn some of our existing weeds such as Canada thistle into super weeds. Plus, a look at some new weed threats from the south.

Invasive Species Centre (Ontario).