Climate change amplifies plant invasion hotspots in Nepal

Article


Shrestha, Uttam Babu and Shrestha, Bharat Babu. 2019. "Climate change amplifies plant invasion hotspots in Nepal." Diversity and Distributions. 25, pp. 1599-1612. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.27257r3.
Article Title

Climate change amplifies plant invasion hotspots in Nepal

ERA Journal ID3225
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsShrestha, Uttam Babu (Author) and Shrestha, Bharat Babu (Author)
Journal TitleDiversity and Distributions
Journal Citation25, pp. 1599-1612
Number of Pages14
Year2019
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1366-9516
1472-4642
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.27257r3.
Web Address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14724642
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.

KeywordsInvasive species, Nepal,Climate change
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020310305. Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
410406. Natural resource management
410401. Conservation and biodiversity
410404. Environmental management
Byline AffiliationsInstitute for Life Sciences and the Environment
Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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