Do invasive mammal eradications from islands support climate change adaptation and mitigation?

Kappes, P.J. and Benkwitt, C.E. and Spatz, D.R. and Wolf, C.A. and Will, D.J. and Holmes, N.D. (2021) Do invasive mammal eradications from islands support climate change adaptation and mitigation? Climate, 9 (12).

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Climate change represents a planetary emergency that is exacerbating the loss of native biodiversity. In response, efforts promoting climate change adaptation strategies that improve ecosystem resilience and/or mitigate climate impacts are paramount. Invasive Alien Species are a key threat to islands globally, where strategies such as preventing establishment (biosecurity), and eradication, especially invasive mammals, have proven effective for reducing native biodiversity loss and can also advance ecosystem resilience and create refugia for native species at risk from climate change. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that successful eradications may also contribute to mitigating climate change. Given the cross-sector potential for eradications to reduce climate impacts alongside native biodiversity conservation, we sought to understand when conservation managers and funders explicitly sought to use or fund the eradication of invasive mammals from islands to achieve positive climate outcomes. To provide context, we first summarized available literature of the synergistic relationship between invasive species and climate change, including case studies where invasive mammal eradications served to meet climate adaptation or mitigation solutions. Second, we conducted a systematic review of the literature and eradication-related conference proceedings to identify when these synergistic effects of climate and invasive species were explicitly addressed through eradication practices. Third, we reviewed projects from four large funding entities known to support climate change solutions and/or native biodiversity conservation efforts and identified when eradications were funded in a climate change context. The combined results of our case study summary paired with systematic reviews found that, although eradicating invasive mammals from islands is an effective climate adaptation strategy, island eradications are poorly represented within the climate change adaptation and mitigation funding framework. We believe this is a lost opportunity and encourage eradication practitioners and funders of climate change adaptation to leverage this extremely effective nature-based tool into positive conservation and climate resilience solutions.

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10 Jan 2022 16:15
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19 Sep 2023 02:44