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Should Plants and Animals that Relocate Because of Climate Change be Considered Invasive?

Some researchers are calling for a more nuanced approach when it comes to flora and fauna that adjust their range to accommodate a warming world.

This article is the result of an idea that wouldn't quit nagging me. On one hand, I thought, environmentalists are worried about mass extinctions of plants and animals as climate changes faster than they can adapt. On the other we are cautioned to stamp out plants and animals that come from other places and do too well in their "new" environment. But if wildlife is going to survive won't it NEED to adapt and move? Isn't doing well in a new environment exactly what want plants and animals to do?

I had been pitching a story on this idea for months with little success when I happened upon a research paper asking the same questions. Hurrah! Conservationists were having these debates too! I pitched a feature to Ensia pegged to this new paper and got the yes I had been looking for. My enthusiasm quickly waned when my first attempt to connect with a source led to a rather sharp reprimand. The second person I called was open to talking, but told me I had "stepped in it." OK, I said, tell me exactly what I stepped in and what I have wrong. She turned out to be a wonderful source of information for my article.


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