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February 27, 2024

The Northeast CASC University Co-Director and collaborators identified 32 high-impact invasive species known to have negative ecological and economic impacts that are expected to shift into Mid-Atlantic states by 2040.

Climate change is helping invasive species spread even further into new areas. Targeted knowledge about which invasive species are likely to appear may help managers take proactive measures to prevent the species’ arrival and limit their spread. Northeast CASC university co-director Bethany Bradley and her colleague Justin Salva published a new study that performed impact assessments on 104 invasive plants species that are expected to move into one or more mid-Atlantic states by the year 2040.  

A single impact assessment requires researchers to scour the scientific literature for a species of interest to determine its’ socio-economic and ecological impacts – which include threats to agriculture, native species, and human health, for example. By repeating this process for each species, Bradley and Salva were able to identify which species pose the largest risks, thereby identifying 32 “high-impact” (high-risk and high-concern) invasive species across the mid-Atlantic states, suggest those species’ be prioritized for preventative management. Two of those 32, including one grass and one tree species, are predicted to reach all eight mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) by 2040.  

These risk assessments may allow managers to tailor their strategies and resources around species known to have large ecological and socio-economic costs.   

This work is supported by the NE CASC Project “Identifying Vulnerable Ecosystems and Supporting Climate-Smart Strategies to Address Invasive Species Under Climate Change,” and is part of the Regional Invasive Species & Climate Change (RISCC) Management Network.  

The full title of the study by Justin D. Salva and Bethany A. Bradley, published in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management: “High-impact invasive plants expanding into mid-Atlantic states: identifying priority range-shifting species for monitoring in light of climate change.”  

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