Interactions between invasive species and climate change present new challenges for resource management. Prior to a new study by NE CASC fellow Evelyn Beaury and her collaborators, however, it was unclear what the common concerns, strategies, limitations, and research needs were for managing invasive species in a changing climate. In their nationwide survey of invasive species managers from government, non-profit, and private organizations, Beaury's team found that while the majority of managers are very concerned about the influence of climate change on invasive species management, the organizations they represent are typically far less engaged with this issue. Survey respondents indicated that lack of funding and personnel limit effective management. Additionally, insufficient information regarding optimal management practices constitutes another substantial problem when considering the convergence of invasive species and climate change. Nevertheless, 65% of managers reported successfully incorporating climate change into their management approach, a proportion that can be increased both by connecting managers across regions and by integrating existing research findings into management practices. This study thus illustrates that the complicating challenge of climate change may open a new avenue for elevating the efficiency and success of current invasive species management efforts if a collaborative approach is adopted in this area.
- Invasive species managers across the U.S. reported a high level of concern about climate change. As a result, many managers have incorporated climate change into management plans.
- Lack of funding, personal, and organizational support is a major limitation to effective invasive species management in the face of climate change.
- High priority research needs: identifying communities resilient to invasions + climate change, identifying range shifting invasive species, and assessing changing effectiveness of treatment methods.
The following strategies were identified as ways that managers incorporate climate change into invasive species management:
- Strategic planning - acquiring new land, improving partnerships across boundaries
- Preventative management - monitoring for range shifting invasive species, planting native species adapted to warmer temperatures
- Treatment and control - changing timing of treatment to match shifting flowering times
- Education and outreach - talking to partners in warmer regions about their problem species and management methods, educating self and staff about the effects of climate change on invasive species
Despite the many proactive measures implemented by managers, significant areas of need remain. Notably, managers seek increased opportunities for information exchange about treatment techniques, new problem species, and other resources in order to more effectively manage invasive species in a changing climate.