Will there be a shift to alien-dominated vegetation assemblages under climate change?

Michelle R. Leishman*, Rachael V. Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Alien plant invasions are considered likely to be facilitated by climate change, resulting in a shift to more alien-dominated vegetation globally. Alien invaders typically have dispersal, environmental tolerance and adaptive capacity traits that may be beneficial for responding to a changing climate. We examine the main drivers of vegetation change under climate change and assess whether these are likely to favour alien invaders over native species. We suggest that responses of native and alien plants to changes in CO2, temperature and rainfall will be strongly species and context dependent so that alien invaders will not consistently be favoured. However, climate change is likely to reduce resilience of vegetation assemblages resulting in increased colonization opportunities which alien invaders are best placed to take advantage of. Consequently, management should focus on actions to increase native vegetation resilience as well as monitoring and early eradication efforts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)848-852
    Number of pages5
    JournalDiversity and Distributions
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


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