Climate Change & Plants

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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The National Botanic Gardens is introducing a new series of Autumn Science Lectures. The theme this year is ‘Climate Change & Plants’.

Climate Change & Plants

For the fourth in the series, Dr Noeleen Smyth, Professor of Environment Horticulture at University College Dublin will explain the effect climate change is having on invasive species. Taking place on Wed, 29 Nov 2023 19:30 – 21:00 at National Botanic Gardens. has college and course provider’s listings of Environmental Studies.

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Climate change is expected to significantly exacerbate issues with invasive species – non-native organisms that cause environmental or economic harm in ecosystems they are introduced to.

Here are some of the key impacts:

  • Warmer temperatures will enable many invasive plants, animals and pests to expand and thrive in regions they previously could not endure. This includes insects like Lyme-disease carrying ticks.
  • Extreme weather events often transport and distribute invasive species to new areas during floods, storms or via wind dispersal. More extreme events means faster spread.
  • Increased atmospheric CO2 provides benefits to fast-growing invasive plants, accelerating impacts on native species unable to adapt as quickly.
  • As habitats and seasons change, vulnerabilities open up in stressed ecosystems, providing footholds for opportunistic invaders to gain a beachhead.
  • Pathways enabling accidental transport of species via shipping and trade may proliferate as commerce redirects through climate-driven accessibility of new polar routes or infrastructure.

Managing invasive organisms is already an over $100 billion annual issue globally according to IUCN. As ecosystems come under pressure from climactic changes, monitoring and controlling the spread of invasive species will become even more challenging but a necessary resilience investment.

Steven Galvin

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