Global Warming and Pest Species
The horrifying hordes of Climate Invaders are upon us—creeping up from lower elevations, attacking from foreign countries, and settling into areas where once they were unable to survive!
As climate change causes winters to warm and seasons to shift, a host of exotic invasives and destructive natives are marching their way into our lives at an ever increasing rate.
According to a report from the National Wildlife Federation, these climate invaders will continue to spread disease, destroy valuable natural resources and push out the native plants and wildlife Americans cherish if global warming continues unabated.
They Came from Climate Change (pdf) profiles seven species that are primed to expand in range, increase in toxicity, or grow in number due to warmer winters and a shift in seasons caused by global warming. According to the report:
They crawl! They bite!They can give you Lyme disease! With a lust for blood and a penchant for warm weather, deer ticks will encroach on more land than ever before thanks to climate change. Milder winters are projected to increase the range of deer tick populations by 68 percent in North America by later this century.
Poison ivy is expected to become more “toxic” as a result of increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Within the lifespan of a child born today, the range of the red imported fire ant in the United States could expand northward by about 80 miles and expand in total area by 21 percent as climate change makes new areas suitable for their survival.
Asian Tiger Mosquito
Climate change is likely to aid further range expansion northward in the United States of the Asian tiger mosquito, increasing disease transmission potential.
If summer precipitation declines significantly, this could expand the amount of suitable land for cheatgrass by up to 45 percent, bringing increased wildfire risks with it.
Several species of the water-hogging salt cedar shrub are poised to take full advantage of a changing climate in the western United States, where water is already scarce.
Pine Bark Beetle
Absent the severe winter cold which kills over-wintering beetle larvae, pine bark beetle populations have exploded to unprecedented levels across the Western United States, killing billions of trees.