Submitted to: Climatic Change
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2010
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Citation: Ziska, L.H., Blumenthal, D.M., Teal, P.E., Runion, G.B., Hunt Jr, E.R., Diaz-Solerto, H. 2010. Invasive species and climate change: an agronomic perspective. Climatic Change. 105:13-42.
The increase in the introduction of new, invasive pests (pathogens, fungi, weeds and insects) represents a significant challenge to USDA in maintaining a secure, safe and adequate food supply. Although invasive biology has become the focus of a number of research efforts, no systematic evaluation of how climate change and/or rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is likely to alter their establishment, success and impact on food security. Yet we recognize that climatic change associated with weather extremes, precipitation, temperature and carbon dioxide is certain to extend the range and impact of agricultural invasive species. There is an urgent need therefore to assess the vulnerability of agriculture to climate-induced changes in invasive species biology. Vulnerability can be defined as the measure of the potential impacts of a given change, minus the adaptive capacity to respond to that change within the system being affected. In this assessment we have provided illustrative examples regarding how global climate change and rising carbon dioxide can and will alter the vulnerability of agriculture to invasive species. We also emphasize that the information needed to fully assess the vulnerability of the U.S. food supply to such threats is lacking. We provide a series of recommendations that we hope will begin to address these vulnerabilities and to maintain food security in an uncertain climate.