Rethinking Invasive Species Amid Climate Change

We've posted quite a few stories of how invasive species can wreck an ecosystem, but those stories represent a small minority of what we call invasive species. The truth is that species move all the time. About 90% of them die out in an unsuitable new environment. Of the remaining 10%, nine will settle in and cause no harm (like kudzu in America). That leaves only 1% of invasive species to make headlines for the damage they cause (like feral cats in Australia). Also, we usually assume that non-native species were transported by humans, such as the plant lovers who bought kudzu from Japanese merchants and the ship crews that carried rodent-hunting cats to Australia.

But there's another kind of invasive species that moves more and more each year- they are climate refugees. As the planet warms up, plants, animals, and other organisms wander further into areas that are becoming more hospitable than their original homes. Is this going to cause problems for existing species in those areas? Maybe, but it may also be the only way those refugee species can continue to exist. Read about this emerging phenomenon and its implications at Vox.


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Invasive is a weird word if you think about it. People like to use the word to describe something that is destroying something else which *should be* preserved. Because it's *better" or something like that. And I've had those thoughts before. But then I have to consider that, from other perspectives, different things - and different people - won't value what I value. So where's the invasiveness? Also you have to think about the passage of time. Would we be considered invasive to the dinosaurs? Where we at the peak of everything during our time and we never knew it? Point is, I think its impossible to pin down anything as invasive, as everything has always been transformative. In half a billion years they say the earth will be so hot nothing will survive. Was anything ever invasive considering how extremely temporary it all was? Who controls the narrative on what is considered invasive?
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