Climate change and alien species in South Africa

Ulricke M. Irlich, David M Richardson, Sarah J Davies, Steven L Chown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


South Africa has a long history of humanmediated introductions of species from all major taxonomic groups. Close to 9000 alien terrestrial plant species have been introduced, and all of the country's biomes have already been invaded. Invasive species are threatening the country's ecosystems in numerous ways, but the effect of climate change on these invasions is predicted to be complex and cascading and remains poorly understood. Th e relationship between climate and invasive species biology is well established, and there is no question that climate change will influence the ecology of invasive species significantly. If left un - managed, these effects are expected to increase substantially. Besides terrestrial plants, numerous animals have also invaded the country's landscapes. South Africa's freshwater ecosystems have been invaded by both alien as well as extralimital introductions (indigenous species outside their historical extent of occurrence). Th e status of invasion in the marine environment remains poorly studied, and knowledge of the status of invasions and predictions regarding the impacts of climate change remain largely speculative. Th is chapter highlights the current status of invasions in South Africa and discusses some of the direct and indirect effects climate change is likely to have on these invasions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInvasive Species and Global Climate Change
EditorsLewis H Ziska, Jeffrey S. Dukes
Place of PublicationOxfordshire UK
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781780641645
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes

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