Invasive Species in a Changing World

ISBN 13: 9781559637824

Invasive Species in a Changing World

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9781559637824: Invasive Species in a Changing World
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Changing patterns of global commerce are leading to the breakdown of biogeographic barriers that have historically kept the floras and faunas of different continents separate. Some introduced species not only take hold in their new foreign habitat but also become aggressive; these -- invasives -- can exact a serious toll on ecosystem diversity and processes. Global changes -- including changes in atmospheric composition, land use patterns,and fire regimes -- are likely to foster the success of invaders in coming decades.
Invasive Species in a Changing World brings together leading scientists from around the world -- including Carla M. D'Antonio, Jeffrey McNeely, Robert Sutherst, David Richardson, and others -- to examine the invasive species phenomenon and to consider the mutual interactions between global change and invasives that are likely to occur over the next century. Invasive Species in a Changing World: offers a comprehensive look at the status of freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems in relation to invasives; examines physical factors that will influence the future success ofinvading species; considers the tools available to track changing patterns and movements; looks at human dimensions including human health effects, and effects on crops; describes the problem in different parts of the world.
Contributors focus on the proposition that global change will exacerbate the invasive species problem, and set forth the idea that invasives are themselves a global change element that need to be considered in global change scenarios.
Invasive Species in a Changing World provides readers with the background and knowledge they need to begin developing strategies to combat the invasive species problem, and is essential reading for anyone concerned with the impact of invasive species on ecosystem health and functioning.

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Bullfrogs and buffelgrass in the American Southwest, Scandinavian pine trees in South Africa, exotic snails in San Francisco Bay and the Thames River: invasive species are increasing at an exponential rate throughout the world, driving native species from their former domains and threatening to create a homogenous global environment populated by only a few hardy plants and animals.

This hard-hitting collection of scientific essays addresses the mechanisms by which these invasions have taken place, all largely owing to what the editors call the "breakdown of the major biogeographic barriers that have historically kept the floras and faunas of the various continents quite distinctive." That breakdown, the result of several causes as unconnected as rapid jet travel and global warming, has led not only to the unimpeded transmittal of pests and weeds into disturbed environments, but also to the increasingly rapid spread of once-alien infectious diseases such as Ebola and encephalitis, which can be considered invasive species of another kind. The costs of such invasions, in the long term and the short term, are immense, as many of the contributors note. Still, the editors urge, the problem must be addressed immediately, and on a global level, inasmuch as invasive species "stand to affect not only the basic ecosystem services on which human life depends, but also virtually all aspects of life on the planet."

Alarming without being alarmist, the collection is of considerable interest to researchers in several scientific disciplines, and it is accessible to general readers with an interest in ecology. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Richard J. Hobbs is Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Western Australia, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Restoration Ecology.

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