Climate change amplifies plant invasion hotspots in Nepal

Shrestha, Uttam Babu and Shrestha, Bharat Babu (2019) Climate change amplifies plant invasion hotspots in Nepal. Diversity and Distributions, 25. pp. 1599-1612. ISSN 1366-9516

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Abstract

Aim

Climate change has increased the risk of biological invasions, particularly by increasing the climatically suitable regions for invasive alien species. The distribution of many native and invasive species has been predicted to change under future climate. We performed species distribution modelling of invasive alien plants (IAPs) to identify hotspots under current and future climate scenarios in Nepal, a country ranked among the most vulnerable countries to biological invasions and climate change in the world.
Location

Nepal.
Methods

We predicted climatically suitable niches of 24 out of the total 26 reported IAPs in Nepal under current and future climate (2050 for RCP 6.0) using an ensemble of species distribution models. We also conducted hotspot analysis to highlight the geographic hotspots for IAPs in different climatic zones, land cover, ecoregions, physiography and federal states.
Results

Under future climate, climatically suitable regions for 75% of IAPs will expand in contrast to a contraction of the climatically suitable regions for the remaining 25% of the IAPs. A high proportion of the modelled suitable niches of IAPs occurred on agricultural lands followed by forests. In aggregation, both extent and intensity (invasion hotspots) of the climatically suitable regions for IAPs will increase in Nepal under future climate scenarios. The invasion hotspots will expand towards the high‐elevation mountainous regions. In these regions, land use is rapidly transforming due to the development of infrastructure and expansion of tourism and trade.
Main conclusions

Negative impacts on livelihood, biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as economic loss caused by IAPs in the future, may be amplified if preventive and control measures are not immediately initiated. Therefore, the management of IAPs in Nepal should account for the vulnerability of climate change‐induced biological invasions into new areas, primarily in the mountains.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2020 22:46
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2020 03:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: Invasive species, Nepal,Climate change
Fields of Research : 06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
Identification Number or DOI: 10.5061/dryad.27257r3.
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36725

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