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Climate Change

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)


  • High-Impact Invasive Plants Expanding into Mid-Atlantic States

    • Jan 19, 2024
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center.

    • With climate change, many invasive plants are projected to shift their ranges, creating hotspots of future invasions across the U.S. Knowing the identities of new invasive plants headed to a nearby state creates an opportunity for proactive prevention and management. Unfortunately, monitoring for and managing all range-shifting invasive plants is untenable. To help prioritize range-shifting species, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center researchers performed impact assessments on 104 plants projected to expand into one or more mid-Atlantic states by 2040 with climate change. Their study was recently published (Oct 6, 2023) in Invasive Plant Science and Management "High-impact invasive plants expanding into mid-Atlantic states: identifying priority range-shifting species for monitoring in light of climate change."

  • Innovation in Climate Adaptation: Harnessing Innovation for Effective Biodiversity and Ecosystem Adaptation

    • Jan 17, 2024
    • National Wildlife Federation.

    • Climate change poses growing risks to species, ecosystems, and people, and is challenging many of the assumptions that underpin modern conservation practice. As a result, there is an urgent need to not only center climate adaptation in conservation policy and practice, but for adaptation responses to be bolder and more innovative. Innovation in Climate Adaptation is designed to address this need by promoting creativity and innovation in the practice of climate adaptation for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. This guide is a collaboration among the National Wildlife Federation, the U.S. Geological Survey Climate Adaptation Science Center Network, and the IUCN Species Survival Commission Climate Change Specialist Group.

      Citation: Stein, B. A., J. A. Cushing, S. T. Jackson, M. Cross, W. Foden, L. M. Hallett, S. M. Hagerman, L. J. Hansen, J. J. Hellmann, D. Magness, G. F. Mendoza, C. Newsome, A. Pathak, S. M. Prober, J. H. Reynolds, and E. S. Zavaleta. 2024. Innovation in Climate Adaptation: Harnessing Innovation for Effective Biodiversity and Ecosystem Adaptation. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.

  • Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Publishes New Management Challenge on Climate Change, Biological Control Agents, and Target Hosts

    • Mar 6, 2024
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center.

    • Biocontrol is an important management tool that utilizes one species (a biocontrol agent) to control another (a target host) and can be an effective approach for controlling populations of invasive species across broad spatial scales. Climate change, though, is complicating biocontrol, raising concerns that mismatches between how biocontrol agents and their hosts respond to climate change could alter the efficacy of current and future biocontrol programs. In response, a team of RISCC (Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change) Management Network and NE CASC (Climate Adaptation Science Center) researchers has published a new "Management Challenge" that details how climate change impacts the relationship between biocontrol agents and their target hosts and outlines management implications arising from this problem.

  • Study Finds Plant Nurseries are Exacerbating the Climate-driven Spread of 80% of Invasive Species

    • Dec 5, 2023
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    • Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently published a pair of papers that, together, provide the most detailed maps to date of how 144 common invasive plants species will react to 2º C of climate change in the eastern U.S., as well as the role that garden centers currently play in seeding future invasions. Together, the papers, published in Diversity and Distributions and BioScience, and the publicly available maps, which track species at the county level, promise to give invasive species managers in the U.S. the tools they need to proactively coordinate their management efforts and adapt now for tomorrow’s warmer climate.

  • Five Ways Climate Change is Intensifying the Threats to Plant Health

    • May 12, 2022
    • UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.

    • The spread of plant diseases and pests is on the rise due to a changing climate. Plants are humans’ best friends and main allies in life on earth. Plants are responsible for 98 percent of the oxygen we breathe and make up 80 percent of our daily calorie intake. However, we often take them for granted, not realizing the importance of keeping them healthy. Every year up to 40 percent of food crops is lost to plant pests and diseases. These losses in both yields and income have a devastating effect on the poorest communities who base their livelihoods on agriculture.

  • Invasive Species and Climate Change Impact Coastal Estuaries

    • May 5, 2022
    • University of California, Davis.

    • Native species in California's estuaries are expected to experience greater declines as invasive species interact with climate change, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. The study "Biological Invasions Alter Consumer-stress Relationships Along an Estuarine Gradient," published in the Ecological Society of America's journal, Ecology, said these declines are expected not only because of climate-related stressors, but also because of the expanding influence of new invasive predators whose impacts are occurring much farther up the estuary.

  • USDA Announces Plan to Integrate Climate Adaptation Into its Missions and Programs

    • Oct 7, 2021
    • United States Department of Agriculture.

    • As part of President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its climate adaptation and resilience plan describing how USDA will prepare for current and future impacts of climate change. The Adaptation Plan is aligned with a renewed and broad effort across USDA to prioritize climate action and increase resilience to climate impacts among American producers, landowners, and communities. For details of the plan, see Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience (Aug 2021) [PDF, 813 KB].

  • Climate Change Fans Spread of Pests and Threatens Plants and Crops, New FAO Study

    • Jun 2, 2021
    • 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.

  • COP26: Climate Change and Its Impact on Invasive Species

  • Feral Hog Invasions Leave Coastal Marshes More Susceptible to Climate Change

    • Nov 16, 2021
    • Duke University. Nicholas School of the Environment.

    • Coastal marshes that have been invaded by feral hogs recover from disturbances up to three times slower than non-invaded marshes and are far less resilient to sea-level rise, extreme drought and other impacts of climate change, a new study led by scientists at Duke University and the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) finds. "Under normal circumstances, marshes can handle and recover from drought or sea level rise, given time, but there is no safety net in place for hog invasions," said Brian Silliman, Rachel Carson Distinguished Professor of Marine Conservation Biology at Duke, who co-authored the study.

  • Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States: Effects of Climate Change on Invasive Species

    • 2021
    • USDA. Forest Service.

    • Chapter 4 (pages 57-83) in open access book; see related resource: Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the United States Forest Sector

      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.

      In order to manage invasive species under a changing climate, it is important to anticipate which species will spread to new habitats and when, and to understand how the characteristics of specific invaders may disrupt or have the potential to disrupt invaded ecosystems. Of utmost importance in containing the spread of invasive species, managers must have the ability to (1) predict which species will positively respond to climate change, (2) predict and detect sites likely to be invaded, and (3) deter incipient invasions before they are beyond control. We outline methods for developing the capability to predict and monitor invasive species in order to forecast their spread and increase their detection. Key findings and key research needs are included for each section.

      Citation: Finch, Deborah M.; Butler, Jack L.; Runyon, Justin B.; Fettig, Christopher J.; Kilkenny, Francis F.; Jose, Shibu; Frankel, Susan J.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Cobb, Richard C.; Dukes, Jeffrey S.; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Amelon, Sybill K. 2021. Effects of Climate Change on Invasive Species. In: Poland, Therese M.; Patel-Weynand, Toral; Finch, Deborah M.; Ford Miniat, Chelcy; Hayes, Deborah C.; Lopez, Vanessa M., eds. Invasive Species in Forests and Rangelands of the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the United States Forest Sector. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer International Publishing: 57 - 84. Chapter 4.

  • Tree-Killing Pests Across the United States Are Increasing the Threats of Climate Change

    • Oct 19, 2021
    • Nature Conservancy.

    • Insects and diseases that are damaging and killing trees across the contiguous United States are reducing the ability of the nation's forests to capture and store climate-changing carbon dioxide, according to a new study. The study – published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change – found that forests damaged by insects sequestered 69% less carbon than undamaged forests. Those affected by disease sequestered 28% less carbon. In total, the study found that the damage currently being caused by insects and diseases across the contiguous US is reducing the sequestration potential of America’s forests by roughly 50 million tons of carbon dioxide each year – the equivalent of emissions from more than 10 million cars.

  • USDA’s Climate, Agriculture, and Forest Science Webinar Series

    • United States Department of Agriculture. USDA Climate Hubs.

    • The USDA Agriculture, Forestry, and Climate Science Working Group and USDA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Policy have launched a year-long monthly webinar series that aims to equip USDA employees and key Cooperative Extension personnel with the scientific foundations of climate change as they apply to USDA’s mission and daily work. The series features leading scientists from within and outside USDA, who provide the latest scientific information and respond to questions about climate change and the application of science to decision-making on working lands. This series is designed to be of use to USDA conservation, resource management, commodity, and service staff. The material is accessible to those not already familiar with climate science, but also includes information that is of use to technical experts.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this subject, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
  • Bioinvasions in a Changing World: A Resource on Invasive Species-Climate Change Interactions for Conservation and Natural Resource Management [PDF, 899 KB]

    • Dec 2014
    • National Invasive Species Council.

    • 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.
      See also: NISC Other Publications for more resources.

  • Climate Change and Invasive Species

    • Australian Invasive Species Council.

  • IUCN Issues Brief - Invasive Alien Species and Climate Change

    • Feb 2021
    • International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

    • "Over the recent decades globalisation has increased the movement of people and goods around the world, leading to a rise in the number of species introduced to areas outside their natural ranges. A 2017 study found that over one third of all introductions in the past 200 years occurred after 1970 and the rate of introductions is showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, a 2020 study predicts that the number of established alien species will increase by 36% between 2005 and 2050."

  • Invasive Species, Climate Change and Ecosystem-Based Adaptation: Addressing Multiple Drivers of Global Change

    • Sep 2010
    • 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.

  • Climate Adaptation Explorer for Florida - Invasive Species

  • North Central Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change Network (NC RISCC)

    • University of Colorado Boulder. Earth Lab.

    • The combination of invasive species and climate change creates unique challenges for natural resource managers. We are developing a network of experts to produce useful and usable science to protect native systems and enhance resilience in the North Central region (CO, WY, KS, NE, SD, ND, MT). This project will expand the successful model of the Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change Management Network to the North Central region of the U.S. This effort will integrate the research and management of invasive species, climate change, and fire under one umbrella. Stakeholders in the North Central region have identified invasive species, woody encroachment, wildfire, and habitat and ecological transformation as key management issues which this project will address. Project length:  Jun 2, 2021 through Jun 1, 2023.
      See also: Creating a North Central Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (NC RISCC) Management Network

  • Northeast Regional Invasive Species & Climate Change (RISCC) Management Network

    • DOI. Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center; University of Massachusetts-Amherst; New York Invasive Species Research Institute (Cornell University).

    • 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?” 

  • Signature Programs: Climate Change and Pests

    • 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
  • USDA Climate Hubs - Pests & Disease

    • 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.
      See also: Invasive species search results for related resources; subscribe to Pest & Disease RSS feed

  • Climate Change - Invasive Species Management

    • 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.

  • Climate Change and Invasive Plants in Forests and Rangelands

    • 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.

  • Energy and Environmental Policy - Climate Change

    • 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.

  • Forest Tree Diseases and Climate Change

    • 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.

  • How Does Climate Change Affect the Challenge of Invasive Species?

    • DOI. United States Geological Survey.

    • Changing climate conditions have bearing on every aspect of biological invasions, in some cases worsening existing problems. Climate change is creating new pathways for invasive species to be introduced, such as shipping routes that open up as sea ice retreats. Warmer temperatures can allow existing invasive species to expand their range into habitat that is currently too cool. Similarly, impacts to native species and people may change if new conditions affect invasive species abundance. Climate change may make existing invasive species control tools less effective, such as aquatic barriers that require minimum water flows.

  • U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Invasive Species

    • United States Global Change Research Program.

International Government
  • Climate Change & Invasive Species: A Review of Interactions: November 2006 Workshop Report

    • May 2008
    • Australian Government. Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

    • 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.

  • Weeds and Climate Change

    • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia). AdaptNRM.

State and Local Government
  • Invaders and Climate Change

    • Mar 1, 2019
    • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Good Natured Blog.

    • "How climate changes will impact invasive species could vary depending on the region, the species affected, and the particular impacts being felt, but most invasives do well in a changing climate. We are already seeing some influences of climate change in Pennsylvania."

      See also: Addressing Climate Change on Public Lands

  • Climate Change Impact on Agrarian Law: Legal Aspects of Food Security in the United States

    • Aug 30, 2022
    • Oxford Academic. The American Journal of Comparative Law.

    • Climate change is “a key driver behind the recent rise in global hunger, one of the leading causes of severe food crises, and a contributing factor to the alarming levels of malnutrition seen in recent years. Increasing climate variability and extremes, linked to climate change, are negatively affecting all dimensions of food security and nutrition.” Moreover, global warming is a significant threat to human health, nature, and global crop production.

      Citation: Margaret Rosso Grossman, Climate Change Impact on Agrarian Law: Legal Aspects of Food Security in the United States, The American Journal of Comparative Law, 2022.

  • Climate Implications – Invasive Species and Pests

    • Indiana University. Environmental Resilience Institute.

    • Climate change in the Midwest is causing winters to be milder, on average, and is increasing the frequency and severity of heavy precipitation events. These changes are increasing the prevalence and range of pests and invasive species, which has wide-ranging impacts on human health, food security, and the management of important ecosystems.

  • Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) - Invasive Range Expanders Listing Tool

    • University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

    • Terrestrial invasive plants are expected to shift their ranges in response to changing climate. This tool provides lists of terrestrial invasive plants expected to expand their ranges into the chosen county or state with climate change by 2040-2060.

  • Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species and Climate Change K-12 Curriculum

    • 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.