Climate change, invasive species and impact on productive and indigenous ecosystems: where might we end up?

Susan Worner *1, Karel Lindsay 1, Shuqi He 2, Kathrin Affeld 3

1 Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, PO Box 84, Lincoln, 7647, New Zealand
2 Department of Plant Quarantine, Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, China
3 Landcare Research, PO Box 40, Lincoln, 7640, NZ

Increasing globalisation combined with climate change is intensifying the threat caused by invasive insect species to biodiversity, environment, economic activity, as well as human and animal health. While a small number of iconic insect invaders capture attention, there are many hundreds that could cause immeasurable impact in any country. Judging which species that have potential to establish and cause significant impact is not easy. While direct impacts of new alien insect incursions may be obvious, indirect effects that can cascade through an ecosystem may not be considered. How can we be better prepared? Internationally, biosecurity agencies recognise the threat and are focused on providing the strategies and policies for efficient prevention and mitigation. Large international research programmes such as PRATIQUE, a European FP7 Framework Program, the Centre of Research Cooperation for National Plant Biosecurity in Australia and the Better Border Biosecurity programme in New Zealand have been funded to deliver the science and tools badly needed by decision makers to diminish the impact of new incursions. Climate change, however, has not featured strongly in these initiatives. Given the potential impacts of invasive insects and the need for greater preparedness, integrative approaches that include a range of modelling methods to project species distribution and impact under climate change, are particularly important.

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