Climate Change and the Potential Distribution of an Invasive Shrub, Lantana camara L
Alex J. Cannon
The threat posed by invasive species, in particular weeds, to biodiversity may be exacerbated by climate change. Lantana camara L. (lantana) is a woody shrub that is highly invasive in many countries of the world. It has a profound economic and environmental impact worldwide, including Australia. Knowledge of the likely potential distribution of this invasive species under current and future climate will be useful in planning better strategies to manage the invasion. A process-oriented niche model of L. camara was developed using CLIMEX to estimate its potential distribution under current and future climate scenarios. The model was calibrated using data from several knowledge domains, including phenological observations and geographic distribution records. The potential distribution of lantana under historical climate exceeded the current distribution in some areas of the world, notably Africa and Asia. Under future scenarios, the climatically suitable areas for L. camara globally were projected to contract. However, some areas were identified in North Africa, Europe and Australia that may become climatically suitable under future climates. In South Africa and China, its potential distribution could expand further inland. These results can inform strategic planning by biosecurity agencies, identifying areas to target for eradication or containment. Distribution maps of risk of potential invasion can be useful tools in public awareness campaigns, especially in countries that have been identified as becoming climatically suitable for L. camara under the future climate scenarios.