Climate change may bring about some positive new opportunities in the West. Climate change may cause some species of invasive plants to retreat, which creates a great opportunity for restoration.
An article published in the Global Change Biology looked at five invasive plants in the west: cheatgrass; spotted knapweed; yellow starthistle; tamarisk; and leafy spurge.
“Just as native species are expected to shift in range and relative competiveness with climate change,”the authors said, “the same should be expected of invasive species.””Just as native species are expected to shift in range and relative competiveness with climate change,” the authors wrote, “the same should be expected of invasive species.”
Knapweed and leafy spurge, both found in Colorado will be impacted by climate change and likely retreat which will create restoration opportunities. Researches say more work needs to be done to determine to what extent cliamte change will impact plants. Will they die-off completly or just retreat?
Questions remain though about how native plants will be able to fill spaces vacated by invasive species. If the local native plants can’t fill the void than land managers may have to make decisions based on what type of purposes the public wants the land to serve.
“The question for policy makers and land managers is, ‘What do we want these lands to be?'” said Wilcove. “These lands will change, and we must decide now – before the window of opportunity closes – whether we do nothing or whether we intervene.”
(Thanks to Morgan Heim for sending this relevent article to me! If you come across something interesting send it my way!)