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Weed dispersal in a connected future

Human activity has changed weed dispersal pathways greatly. Weeds can travel great distances more easily but their ability to spread locally has been reduced.

Climate adaptation responses, such as restoration of landscape connectivity, refugia protection and managed relocation, may change weed dispersal pathways in new ways. Native plants may move into new areas as they adapt to climate change. This could represent an adaptive solution for these species but also a threat to pre-existing native plants in those areas. An unintended consequence of improving landscape connectivity (e.g. by providing vegetation corridors) is improving the opportunity for invasive plants to spread.


    Adaptation responses to combat invasion from corridors include monitoring, pinch points and translocation.

    Similarly, as native species shift their distributions in response to climate change or managed relocation, they have the potential to negatively impact other native species in their newly expanded range, thus becoming weeds themselves.


    The best adaptation response is to monitor the consequences of distribution shifts of native species to recognise negative impacts when they arise.

    Refugia have an increased risk of invasion under climate change with potentially greater consequences for biodiversity.


    The key climate adaptation response to protect refugia is to maintain and enhance current invasive plant quarantine, surveillance and control measures.