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Climate change invites alien invaders - Is Canada ready?
Date:1/19/2012

Ottawa, Ontario - A comprehensive multi-disciplinary synthesis just published in Environmental Reviews reveals the urgent need for further investigation and policy development to address significant environmental, social and economic impacts of invasive alien species (IAS) and climate change. "Effects of climate change on the distribution of invasive alien species in Canada: a knowledge synthesis of range change prediction in a warming world" is the collaborative effort of a team of dedicated researchers at York University's Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS).

"Many species' distributions are already changing in response to a warming climate, and ecosystems are predicted to become more vulnerable to invasive species as climatic barriers are eliminated," says author Dr. Andrea Smith, IRIS Senior Fellow, currently conducting a legislative review of invasive species policy in Canada for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network. "The interactive effects of climate change and invasive species are expected to have profound consequences for environments, economies and societies worldwide. For example, many new infectious diseases will likely spread to the Arctic, and coordinated circumpolar disease monitoring and targeted healthcare planning will be needed to handle this new pressure. Yet, these two drivers of global change are rarely considered jointly in policy and management initiatives."

This review reveals the barriers to predicting invasive species' range changes under climate change, including the complexity of the issue, lack of ecological data, and failure to address climate changeIAS interactions in research and policy. Despite the multi-disciplinary nature of the issue, very few studies examine the socio-economic dimensions of the problem and research has tended to focus on predictions of how the distribution of existing invasive species in Canada (includin
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Contact: Andrea Smith
geckoals@yorku.ca
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)
Source:Eurekalert

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