Global warming will boost agriculture weed threat

Australian researchers using computer models to  the likely impact of climate change on invasive weed propagation have warned that current attempts in countries like Australian and the United States to eradicate invasive weeds are ‘insufficient.’

Dr Farzin Shabani from Flinders University’s Global Ecology Lab found a likely increase in areas of habitat suitability for the majority of invasive weed species in European countries, parts of the US and Australia. Her team say lead to spatial changes in the overlapping of specific IWS globally.

“We aimed to evaluate the potential alterations – whether that be a gain, loss or static – in the number of potential ecoregion invasions by IWS, under climate change scenarios,” said Dr Shabani. “We utilised all possible greenhouse gas concentration to examine a range of possible outcomes.

“Under future climatic conditions, our results mainly predicted decrease on a global scale, with reduced areas of habitat suitable for most Invasive Weed Species – but significantly this excluded European countries, northern Brazil, eastern US, and south-eastern Australia, which are all highly productive agricultural regions.”

The study also revealed that Invasive Weed Species would most likely develop alterations in their habitat suitability in most parts of the world in the future. “Even though our future projections indicate a decreasing rate in threats from invasive weeds in extensive areas across the world, the current distributions of many species still have a potential for expansion,” warned Dr Shabani. “Many of these invasive weeds pose a threat in suitable habitats under both current and future climate conditions.”

Photo source: Flinders University

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